Implementation of the European Timber Regulation by German importing operators: An empirical investigation
Illegal logging causes damage to forests with consequences for climate, biodiversity, livelihoods and national economies. One of the causes is international trade driven by consumer-country demand. Since 2013, the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits the placement of timber and timber products from illegal sources on the European market. The implementation is still in progress in most EU Member States, and market operators are insufficiently aware of their respective duties. The study considers a causal chain necessary to result in the envisaged behaviour change of importing operators, i.e., a reduced import of timber products from illegal sources. Therefore, the extent to which importing operators meet the prerequisites of behaviour change (awareness, knowledge, compliance and change of timber trade activities) is analysed. Taking Germany as an example, an extensive survey is conducted on German importing operators. Operator characteristics are analysed to determine in how far the prerequisites of behaviour change are met. The study found gaps in the practical implementation process along the whole causal chain. While awareness, knowledge and compliance among importing operators in Germany is still low, those operators that show the envisaged behaviour changes cover the majority of total import value. The majority of operators import only small quantities of timber products, while a few operators dominate the market. Especially small operators outside the timber-related sector were found to be unaware of the EUTR and less often compliant. Their low information status hints on uneven information availability. Compliance was highest among larger enterprises, and those importing from risk countries. The study contributes to determining risk factors for better targeting gaps along the causal chain necessary for compliance with the EUTR, and the types of operators affected. Finally, needs and options for intervention and further research are discussed.