Kingfisher welcomes outcome of European Commission review of the EU Timber Regulation

As a long-term advocate of protecting the world’s forests, Kingfisher welcomes the news that the European Commission has recognised there is a problem preventing the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) from fulfilling its purpose.

The EUTR was introduced in 2013 to prevent illegal wood (and products made with illegal wood or paper) being put on the European market. Doing so lessens demand for illegal wood and makes sustainable forestry management more attractive, which protects our forests.

The problem is that the regulation isn’t currently doing what it was designed to do. This is because each European Member State has been interpreting the regulation differently and this inconsistency can lead to unfair market distortion. 

That’s why Kingfisher and a number of like-minded retailers including IKEA, M&S and Carrefour are part of the Timber Retail Coalition (TRC). We have together engaged the European Commission to understand why the EUTR isn’t currently working and what needs to happen to enable it to do what it was intended to do - stop illegal wood and wood-derived products from being sold on European markets.

Whilst it is very welcome news that the Commission has listened to what we have said and it is an important milestone to be celebrated, there is now much more that needs to happen. We are recommending three things: 

  1. Uniform enforcement of the EUTR across all Member States to harmonise implementation and remove distortion in the market.
  2. Sustainable forestry certification schemes (such as FSC) to be fully recognised within the EUTR. This has the added benefit of helping businesses understand the value of these certification schemes, which help to protect the world’s forests. 
  3. An impact assessment into the scope of products included in the EUTR - once a more harmonised approach to enforcement has been achieved.

You might be asking why we care about deforestation and are so proactive with this agenda? Kingfisher is particularly interested because 40% of our products contain wood or paper. We have a restorative sustainability ambition, called Net Positive, in which we have a commitment to understand where all the wood and paper we use comes from and to ensure it is all sustainably sourced. We started that journey more than two decades ago and are proud that 96% of all the products we sell are now responsibly sourced. We won’t rest until all of it is. Right now our business is impacted particularly in Romania and we need the EUTR to be effective to help us address this.

Forests make a huge financial, social and environmental contribution to our planet and there is an intrinsic link between looking after our forests and reducing the global carbon emissions that are leading to climate change. 

The TRC was instrumental in campaigning for the introduction of the EUTR back in 2013 and will continue to talk to the European Commission until the regulations reach their objective of halting the trade of illegally sourced timber in Europe. 

For more information about how we are embedding sustainability into all we do at Kingfisher and our commitments visit www.kingfisher.com/netpositive