Core data collection on the volumes of certified wood products is challenging. Neither FSC nor PEFC currently collect these data at source and trade federations and importers are often reluctant to share their own internal data when it is not in their interest to do so. Probos and GTF are developing a monitoring methodology for sustainable timber trade flows.

Probos is experienced in using the so called source approach for these kind of studies, like Probos has done several times for the Dutch and Belgian market. However, this approach is rather time consuming and hence rather expensive.

Therefore, a consortium led by GTF (the Global Timer Forum) is developing a new approach in data analysis to get an indication of the share of timber products on the market exposed to certification of sustainable forest management.

FLEGT Independent Market Monitoring (IMM) introduced a new approach to address data gaps: the ‘exposure to certification’ approach. With this approach, a country’s access to certified wood fibre is measured rather than the share of certified timber on the country’s national market, providing a useful insight into those flows between countries with significant gaps in the supply of certified material and those where certified supply is abundant.

The derived estimates of sustainable timber products on country level gained with this new approach are not as reliable as an extensive ‘source approach’ market study, but can provide valid data and the study is repeatable at relatively low cost.

In this project, the methodology is further refined and the share of verified legal, FLEGT-licensed tropical timber and verified sustainable tropical timber primary products in 2018 exposed to certification per main EU tropical timber consuming country and for the EU as a whole is determined. In addition, the impact of EU demand on certified tropical forest areas and carbon stock is estimated. The proposed approach is to use a combination of the ‘exposure to certification’ approach and data from surveys in the seven main EU tropical timber importing countries.

The aim of this project is to further test the ‘exposure to certification’ approach and refine it in such a way that a repeatable model becomes available for IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiatve) to be used on an on-going basis as required. 

Main partners in the project are GTF and Probos. GTF is lead applicant for the project and project coordinator. Probos is technical partner and National Consultant for the Netherlands. National Consultants for Italy, Wallonia, Spain, UK, Germany and Flanders and consultees FII (Forest Industries Intelligence) and IMM are also involved in the project.


Probos expert(s) involved: Mark van Benthem, Jan Oldenburger, Jasprina Kremers 
Client(s): IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative
Year(s): 2018-2019