The forest-based industries and the Minister for Climate and Energy signed this important agreement on 1 March 2011. It is for the first time in Belgium and Europe that the different forest-based industries have agreed to extend their supply of environmentally friendly products and to make customers aware of the importance of sustainable timber.
By signing this agreement, the forest-based industries commit themselves to exclusively using timber from legal origins and to extending their supply of timber products from sustainably managed forests. By 2018, the portion of primary wood products (= sawn wood and board material) will rise from 15% to at least 35%. A market study is foresoon every three years in order to follow the evolution.
The agreement was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 7 April 2011. Below, you will find the basic principles.
Communication and sensitization
• The undersigned parties ensure a regular, concerted communication in order to inform the consumer on, and to sensitize him of sustainable forest management and the importance of sustainable forest certification
• The undersigned parties organise information campaigns in order to convince their members and the consumer of the importance of sustainable forest certification, so as to promote sustainable management and the use of certified raw materials.
• The members of the undersigned parties commit themselves to launch onto the market legally produced timber products and will undertake anything to prove that these timber products, and the raw materials thereof, have a legal origin, and that they will comply with the CITES convention.
• The share of sawed softwood launched onto the market, sawed tropical hardwood, sawed moderate hard wood and board material from sustainably managed forests will be increased in accordance with the following schedule;
o By December 31st, 2012:
At least 23,25 % will originate from sustainably managed forests;
o By December 31st, 2015:
At least 29,25 % will originate from sustainably managed forests;
o By December 31st, 2018:
At least 35 % will originate from sustainably managed forests;
Verification and reporting
• The execution of the agreement is evaluated every year.
• The undersigned parties lend their collaboration to a market survey, financed by the Federal State, which will be carried out, so as to monitor the progress concerning the commitments.
• The undersigned parties will provide the Directorate General Environment every year with a report on the undertaken activities concerning promotion of sustainable forest certification and chain verification.
The results of the first market Survey (FR) on the year 2012 exceed all expectations. Primary timber products from sustainably managed forests already constitute 40,5% of the market.
A second market survey over the year 2016 (FR) was terminated in April 2018. It showed that in 2016, the share of certified timber products on the Belgian Market had increased to 59,5%. Besides, in view of the plans to start a new Sectoral Agreement, (exploring) research has been performed for certified wood in secondary wood products (a.o. furniture, pallets, window frames) as well as paper and cardboard. Furthermore, the origin and evolution of certified wood products was surveyed and a proposition was made for a future reporting of the share of certified wood products.
The federations Fedustria en Cobelpa/Fetra/Febelgra phrase their remarks on this survey report in an addendum (NL).