Legal issues concerning wood

Finnish forest industry companies only use legally acquired wood in their production. The companies know the origin of the wood. Knowing the origin of the raw material is a prerequisite for the sustainable use of forests.

In 2003, the EU approved an action plan to prevent the illegal harvesting of and trading in wood. This plan goes by the name of FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade). The plan contains, amongst other things, voluntary partnership agreements, which aim to ensure that partner countries only import legal wood into the EU area. According to the EU’s FLEGT action plan, the legality of wood is determined by the legislation related to forest management, wood harvesting and wood trade of the country where the wood is harvested. According to the requirements of legally acquired timber, the raw material must be obtained from a legal person, who has the legal right to harvest wood in the area in question, and the harvesting and forest management must be carried out so that they comply with local forestry and environmental legislation.

The FLEGT plan aims to prevent the sale in the EU of illegally felled wood and products made from it. Anyone importing timber or wood products into the EU, must be able reliably to prove the legal origin of the wood. People selling wood product onwards are obliged to keep the documents that show where they bought the goods from and where they sold them to.