French due diligence system gains momentum

Following its success gaining EU Timber Regulation Monitoring Operation status, French association Le Commerce du Bois reports 12 members have implemented its due diligence system (DDS). Six more will start using it early 2016, with 40 expected to be signed up by the year-end.

“Of the 12 registered, three have passed a DDS application audit and been awarded their LCB Certificate of Compliance with the EUTR,” said LDB’s recently appointed EUTR officer Patrick Baraize, a chain of custody specialist with four years at FSC.

The LCB is pleased with this initial interest

“Our DDS was only completed in May, so registration didn’t start until the mid-year,” said Mr Baraize.

To encourage more to join the scheme, the LCB has ‘modified its fees’.

“So even small operators can apply our DDS,” said Mr Baraize. “And we’re also suggesting members get audited on the same dates they’re controlled for FSC or PEFC chain of custody certification to reduce costs. That way it’s certain they’ll be audited every year for EUTR compliance.”

LCB Director Eric Boilley said these early responses to its MO services were “encouraging” and testimony to members’ environmental commitment.

To support companies meet legality requirements, besides strengthening its team with the appointment of Mr Baraize, LCB has introduced a range of tools and support services. These include a checklist system for operators and auditors, listing key questions to ask at different levels of illegality risk assessment.  It has also developed risk analysis methodologies, using a range of current data from NGOs, industry risk alerts, and producer country regulations.

To ensure impartiality of the LCB due diligence scheme, he added, audits are carried out by independent organisations, such as SGS, FCBA and Bureau Veritas.