The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) issued voluntary due-diligence guidelines and resources for members, aimed at maintaining “the highest standards and protections for its members in sourcing and trading imported wood products.” The association announced the action at the 44th session of the International Tropical Timber Council in Yokohama, Japan.
Developed by an IWPA task force, the due-diligence packet is designed to assist IPWA members in increasing their protection from civil-forfeiture measures outlined in the recent Lacey Act amendment, and provides similar support documentation for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) ATCM on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. IWPA said it supports the ultimate goals of those regulations—to eliminate illegal logging and improve the environmental-health profile of composite wood products.
IWPA Executive Vice President Brent McClendon said the due-diligence packet “reflects the best business practices our industry conducts, and assures customers that imported wood products are legal and environmentally sound, strengthening our competitive footing in the marketplace.”
McClendon added that architects, designers, manufacturers, and distributors “are increasingly specifying imported wood products for their beauty and durability. They've always known that the use of imported wood products supports the sustainable forest management of our world’s great forests. Because of Lacey and CARB, they now have complete confidence that they've also made a completely legal and environmentally responsible choice.”
IPWA said the new Lacey Act provisions enacted by the U.S. Congress are aimed at providing innocent owners with a safe harbor from the seizure and forfeiture of plants and plant products subject to the new provisions. In addition to assisting members with Lacey Act compliance, the due-diligence documents also assist IWPA members with new stricter standards on formaldehyde emissions under action taken by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The new regulation applies to all raw panels or products, including cabinetry, flooring, doors, and furniture, which must be third-party certified and labeled to show compliance.
The scope of the “innocent owner” defense in civil-forfeiture proceedings against plants and plant products pursuant to the new Lacey Act provisions is subject to interpretation by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. federal courts.
Included in the IWPA’s new due-diligence documents is a supplier questionnaire that lists essential queries that an importer can and should review with its suppliers. Also included is a purchase-order disclaimer that contains specifically designed language to comply fully with the legal requirements of the new Lacey Act provisions and the California Air Resources Board’s regulation on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. IWPA members also can access the association’s Policy Statement Regarding Legal Wood Sourcing and Product Safety.
The IPWA (www.IWPAwood.org) is an international trade association for the North American imported wood-products industry, representing 220 companies and trade associations engaged in the import of hardwoods and softwoods from sustainably managed forests. Association members consist of three key groups involved in the import process: U.S. importers and consuming industries, offshore manufacturers, and the service providers that facilitate trade.