|“Verifying legality of timber and wood products”
The GFS Legal Verification Services & Wood Tracking Program is designed in accordance with ISO 9001-2015 procedural systems to mitigate the risk of unknown & illegal material entering the supply chain through site evaluation to verify forests or plantation areas comply with Legal Regulations and that timber is traceable under a documented Chain of Custody and evaluation of Supplier Risk.
Legal Verification Services (LVS) is a formal site evaluation to verify compliance of forest & plantation management to national/local regulations according to a documented legality standard. The LVS functions as a Due Diligence system to document compliance with a generic GFS LVS standard or Sabah Timber Legality Assurance Principles 1-6 (Sabah TLAS P1-6) or Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System Principles 1-6 (STLVS P1-6) as applicable. Annual Assessments are required to monitor and document continual compliance with the standard.
GFS LVS standard: GFS-WI-006-LVS-1 LVS Legal Requirement
The Wood Tracking Program (WTP) is designed to verify a structured Chain of Custody system that tracks raw material from forest origin through processing and trade based on GFS WTP CoC requirements. Annual Assessment is required to monitor and document continual compliance with the standard.
GFS WTP standard: GFS-WI-006-WTP.3 Requirement CoC
Sabah Timber Legality Monitoring (Sabah TLAS):
The Sabah TLAS Legality Standard consists of 6 Principles; 25 Criteria and 128 Indicators that define the requirements for the implementation of forestry, mill and trading activities to associated Sabah regulations. Sabah TLAS Principles 1-4 covers regulatory requirements for forest management while Principles 5-6 cover the requirements for manufacturing and trade as established under the FLEGT VPA negotiations.
The Sabah TLAS requirements for forestry operations is documented through the use of FDS-TLAS-006 checklist and reporting formats:
Sabah TLAS Principles 1-4 Checklist: FDS-TLAS-006 TLAS P1-4 Checklist/Report
GFS issues a detailed assessment report for each area evaluated along with an Audit Statement if the area complies with the standard. Summary audit reports and Audit Statements are posted on the GFS Website under the Client Database / Legal Verification Services. FDS will issue a Compliance Certificate for licensed areas that demonstrate compliance based on GFS Audit Statement and report. Annual assessments are required to monitor continual compliance with the Sabah TLAS requirements.
GFS also monitors ALL manufacturers and export companies to document compliance with the Sabah Legality Standard (Sabah TLAS Principles 5-6) for processing and trade. Sabah Timber Legality monitoring includes verification of legality and chain of custody system through manufacturing and trade based on FDS-TLAS-007. GFS conducts annual assessments for each licensed factory and trading company in Sabah to document compliance with the Sabah TLAS P5-6 requirements.
Sabah TLAS Principles 5-6 Checklist: FDS-TLAS-007 TLAS P5-6 Checklist/Report
Forestry Department Sabah issues Certificates of Compliance for all forest license areas that demonstrate compliance to the Sabah TLAS P1-4 and to manufacturing, trading and export companies demonstrate compliance to the Sabah TLAS P5-6. Information on the Sabah TLAS and copies of Certificates of Compliance can be found on the FDS website under Discover and Certrax Database:
Forestry Department Sabah website: www.forest.sabah.gov.my
Additional information on Sabah Timber Industry, manufacturers and exporters can be found on the Sabah Timber Industry Association (STIA) website: www.stia.com.my
Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System (STLVS):
The agencies that regulate forestry operations include FDS for policy, management, licensing and enforcement; SFC for operational activities including harvesting, royalty assessment and log movement, HTSB for log inspection and the endorsement of logs to licensed mills or export. STIDC regulates the manufacturing and trade of timber and timber products.
The Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System (STLVS) provides a formal Standard and System that includes independent 3rd party verification of forest management, timber processing and trade of timber and timber products against Sarawak regulations to act as due diligence for Sarawak Export companies and timber products. The STLVS consists of 4 main elements:
The STLVS Standard was first presented to the timber industry for comments followed by pilot testing in July – Sept 2016 in 6 selected forest timber licenses and 6 manufacturing and export companies. Results of the pilot testing and the draft STLVS Standard was presented for comment and input to finalize the Principles / Criteria and indicators of the STLVS Legality Standard.
The current STLVS Legality Standard consists of 6 Principles; 18 Criteria and 79 Indicators that define the requirements for the implementation of forestry, mill and trading activities to associated Sarawak regulations. STLVS Principles 1-4 covers regulatory requirements for forest management while Principles 5-6 cover the requirements for manufacturing and trade.
STLVS Principles 1-4: GFS-FORM-006-STLVS-3.1 STLVS P1-4 Checklist-Report
GFS also provides verification for timber and wood products for Sarawak Malaysia based on documenting compliance for factories and trading companies against the Sarawak STLVS Principles 5-6 requirements. GFS conducts an independent evaluation of Manufacturing and Trading Companies in Sarawak on a voluntary basis to serve as a Due Diligence system to demonstrate compliance to the STLVS Principles 5-6. GFS issues an audit report and Statement of Compliance under the GFS WTP program to each factory or trading company that demonstrates compliance with the STLVS requirements. A summary of each audit report and Statement of Compliance is registered and posted on the Client Database in the GFS website for transparency under the GFS Wood Tracking Program. Annual assessments are required to monitor continual compliance with the STLVS P5-6 requirements.
STLVS Principles 5-6: GFS-FORM-006-STLVS-3.2 STLVS P5-6 Checklist-Report
Sarawak Timber Association (STA) along with the government agencies are supporting the implementation of the STLVS as a Due Diligence system for STLVS Verified timber products produced by Sarawak forestry, manufacturing and trading companies. STLVS Verified timber and wood products provide independent verification of compliance to the STLVS requirements to fulfill Japan Goho Wood, USA Lacey Act, Australian Illegal Logging Act and EUTR requirements.
More information on the STLVS can be found on STA website: sta.org.my
The Wood Tracking Program (WTP) is designed to verify a documented Chain of Custody system that provides traceability of raw material from a verified legal forest areas through manufacturing of wood products and trade to retail markets. The requirements of the WTP includes a documented Chain of Custody from Purchasing, Receiving, Production Control, Finished Goods and Sales that is managed through a formal administrative process. The GFS WTP is based on WTP requirements v13 August 2017 or Sabah Timber Legality Assurance Principles 5-6 (Sabah TLAS) or Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System Principles 5-6 (STLVS) as applicable:
GFS conducts an assessment and annual monitoring of wood manufacturers and traders under the Wood Tracking Program that comply with the Chain of Custody (CoC) requirements to track the material used in wood products to a verified legal forest or plantation area. The WTP includes a requirement for a Supplier Risk Assessment for all raw material and wood products to document the origin of all material as low / negligible risk to defined forest or plantation areas. Purchases of raw material and wood products must be vetted through a formal Risk Assessment that documents Low Risk of all material entering the supply chain. The Risk Assessment consists of evaluating Country Level Risk; Species Risk & Operational Risk GFS-WI-006-WTP.2 Supplier Risk Assessment GuidelineGFS-WI-006-WTP.2 Supplier Evaluation & Risk Assessment Guideline. Any material not considered low risk based on the Risk Matrix must not be used in a VL production unit under the GFS WTP. Annual assessments are required to monitor and document continual compliance with the standard. A summary of each audit report and Statement of Compliance is registered and posted on the Client Database in the GFS website for transparency under the GFS Wood Tracking Program.
EU Timber Trade Regulations:
The EU definition of legality is based on national regulations associated with harvesting timber, processing, trade and export of timber and wood products. Thus, the EU Timber Trade Regulations is based on compliance to regulations in both the forest and through the manufacture and supply chain.
Lacey Act (USA):
Under the amended Lacey Act, importers are required to submit a declaration for certain plants and plant products. The declaration must contain, among other things, the scientific name of the plant, value of the importation, quantity of the plant and name of the country from which the plant was harvested. Violations of the Lacey Act provisions may be prosecuted in three basic ways: (1) Civil-monetary penalties; (2) Criminal-fines, penalties and potential incarceration; or (3) Forfeiture-dispossession of the plant, fish, or wildlife in question.
Basic elements of the illegality of forest products under the Lacey Act include:
Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012:
Japan Goho Wood – April 2006:
How to comply with the current import regulations?
The GFS Wood Tracking Program & Legal Verification Service are designed to ensure that wood products can be traced to a legal forest or plantation area based on a formal risk assessment and/or field verification of the legality of raw material that is not deemed low risk. Companies participating in the GFS WTP must have a formal Chain of Custody system to track material from purchasing through production and sale of wood products that meet the GFS standard GFS WTP: GFS-WI-006-WTP.3 Requirement CoC. All material traded under the GFS WTP must be 100% legal verified through risk assessment and (or) field evaluation of compliance as through the GFS Legal Verification Service.
GFS issues Assessment Reports and Statements of Compliance for all organizations participating in the GFS Wood Tracking and Legal Verification Systems. The GFS website includes a Client Database for both the Wood Tracking Program and Legal Verification Service where key information on all companies participating in the WTP and LVS is posted for transparency of the programs. The Client Database includes information on the company, Summary – Assessment Reports and GFS Statements of Compliance.
The GFS Wood Tracking Program and Legal Verification Service provide the documented evidence of compliance to enable importing companies and international organizations to verify the current status of each participating company in regards to forest management and operations and manufacturing / trade of Verified Legal timber and wood products.