Italians raise public procurement certified threshold

Italy’s timber sector is identifying positives in the country’s new law ruling that at least 50% of wood products procured by government for public projects are certified legal and sustainable, or recycled.

The regulation was passed at the end of 2015 and came into effect earlier this year. Its full title is ‘Environmental Provision to promote green economic measures and contain excessive use of natural resources’.

“It stipulates that all public sector bodies ensure that at least half of tenders for timber and wood products by value meet a range of environmental criteria,” said Stefano Dezzutto, Chief Executive of timber sector federation Fedecomlegno. “And it applies to local as well as central government.”

He added that the new ruling currently covers office and outdoor furniture, construction materials, windows and doors and said Fedecomlegno consulted on the drafting process. “We contributed actively to drawing up the ‘minimum environmental criteria’ for each kind of product,” he said.

The law states that the minimum 50% of wood and wood-based goods must comprise re-used or recovered timber, or include a minimum 70% of material sourced from sustainably managed forest. Proof of origin can include FSC or PEFC certification, these schemes’ recycled wood certificates, or an equivalent, which has to be independent third party verified and ISO-approved.

Fedecomlegno sees the new regulation boosting overall Italian demand for certified sustainable timber, especially wood-based panels used in furniture.

It has also communicated the details to its members so they can be prepared.

“And it’s felt that the topic will be addressed further by legislators in the near future,” said Mr Dezzutto. “Some have forecast that the government procurement threshold on certified legal and sustainable timber will be increased to 100%.”