BVRio launches app to assist buyers in avoiding illegal timber products
BVRio launches app to assist buyers in avoiding illegal timber products
BVRio Environmental Exchange launched today a new app to assist traders and buyers of tropical timber in verifying the legality status of the products purchased. Users can simply scan the bar codes of Timber Transportation Permits and receive a report on the legality status of the product checked. The system is initially focused on compliance with Brazilian laws. See video here.
BVRio’s Timber Legality Verification System is available as a desktop version (visit http://timber.bvrio.org) or as apps in Android or IOS format, available for free download at the Google Play and Mac App Stores.
These apps will be particularly useful to buyers operating in Europe and the US, where they have to ensure compliance with the EU Timber Regulation and the US Lacey Act. Given the high risk of timber illegality in Brazil (according Chatham House, it is estimated that more than 50% of Brazilian timber comes from illegal sources), the use of these apps assist buyers in estimating their risks and avoiding exposure to illegal timber trade.
This verification and due diligence process starts with the analysis of documentation provided for the Brazilian government’s DOF and Sisflora Systems (document of origin of timber products). Information gathered is crosschecked to detect any inconsistencies with internal and external databases, including satellite imagery analysis (including analysis from WRI’s Global Forest Watch, and Brazilian NGOs Imazon and ICV) and official databases of infractions of environmental legislation, slave labour, illegal deforestation, environmental infractions, and tax compliance.
Each consignment of wood products is verified according to its chain of custody, estimating the probability of risks related to social and environmental infractions. The system is based on big data analysis and has already conducted more than 1 billion crosschecks of data. Databases are updated daily - the more the system is used, the stronger its predictive capacity.
The development of BVRio’s Responsible Timber Exchange and Legality Verification System benefited from input, contributions, and support from various organisations. To ensure that the systems operate in a transparent and consistent way, an Advisory Board was created with the participation of the following organisations: Imaflora (Brazilian FSC certification NGO), Imazon (Pará-based NGO), Instituto Centro Vida (ICV, Mato Grosso based NGO), WWF Brasil, WRI - World Resources Institute Brasil, and Amata (Brazilian FSC certified timber products company).
The Timber Legality Verification system is the first component of a Timber Exchange that will be launched in 2016. The Responsible Timber Exchange, is a trading platform with the objective to promote the use of tropical wood products from legal sources. The system and the Exchange are currently focused on timber products from Brazil. With UK aid from the UK Government, in 2016 BVRio will be expanding the system internationally, starting with West African countries.
The Timber Legality Verification System is an initiative of the BVRio Institute and BVRio Environmental Exchange. BVRio Institute (www.bvrio.org) is a non-profit association created in 2011 with the objective to develop market mechanisms to facilitate compliance with Brazilian environmental laws. iBVRio was developed in collaboration with different state government agencies (i.e., Amazonas, Pará, Rio de Janeiro, and Acre) and the Association of Environmental Public Attorneys (Abrampa), and established partnerships with a number of civil society organizations. BVRio Environmental Exchange (www.bvrio.com), was created to operate the markets developed by iBVRio through a multi-sector negotiations platform for environmental commodities developed specifically to serve the needs of developing countries. iBVRio is a Climate Action Leader of the R20 Regions for Climate Action initiative, received the Katerva Awards 2013 for Economy, and is a member of the Forest Legality Alliance.
About the illegal trade of tropical timber
This initiative was developed with a view of promoting the responsible trade of tropical timber. A significant barrier for the expansion of the production of sustainable and/or certified timber, however, is the unfair competition posed by illegal operations. Interpol estimates that between 50 and 90% of all tropical timber are from illegal sources, with lower production costs and no tax. This lower cost structure enables them to displace the legal sources in the market, resulting in financial difficulties for the companies involved in legal and/or certified sustainable production. Brazil is considered a high risk country in terms of illegal timber extraction, and this is affecting the markets of timber from this country. Indeed, there has been repeated cases of timber illegality reported by NGOs or the press in the last months (see footnote for examples).
About the Responsible Timber Exchange
BVRio Responsible Timber Exchange is a negotiations platform for legal or certified (i.e., FSC) timber products integrated with a due diligence system and supply chain tracker, allowing traceability of timber products from source of production to final buyer, providing transparency, efficiency and liquidity to this market. The system was designed to facilitate compliance with the requirements of the EU Timber Regulations and the US Lacey Act.
A trading platform with in-built due diligence and traceabiity systems
BVRio’s Timber Exchange is a simple and efficient trading platform with internal due diligence functionalities. It includes a supply chain traceability system to verify the legality of products negotiated, while ensuring its main purpose to approximate producers and buyers of legal timber products in a transparent and safe environment.
A due diligence system from the forest to the trading platform
BVRio due diligence system consists of a framework of procedures and measures designed to assess the compliance with the applicable legislation and to identify evidences of fraud and illegality. The due diligence system covers the whole supply chain, assuring the traceability of the timber. All information and documentation are stored and made available for independent auditing.
Adding credibility to the DOF System of the Brazilian government
The due diligence starts with documentation provided for the Brazilian government’s DOF System (Document of Origin of Timber Products). Information gathered is cross-checked to detect any inconsistencies, including spatial satellite imagery analysis and verification of databases of infraction of labour legislation, illegal deforestation, environmental infractions, and tax compliance, possibly complemented by spot checks and field audits, verifying the legality of timber products.
With input from Brazilian buyers and sellers
BVRio’s Responsible Timber Exchange was developed in consultation with participants from the National Forum of Forest Producers, the Association of Timber Retailers of Sao Paulo (Sindimasp), the CAD-Madeira programme, the Legal Timber Protocol initiative (Protocolo Madeira É Legal), FSC-certified producers in Brazil, and input from Brazilian NGOs. The system is supervised by an Advisory Board with the participation of the following organisations: Imaflora (Brazilian FSC certification NGO), Imazon (Pará-based NGO), Instituto Centro Vida (ICV, Mato Grosso based NGO), WWF Brasil, WRI - World Resources Institute Brasil, and Amata (Brazilian FSC certified timber products company).
Building on Brazilian experience
The Timber Exchange was developed by Rio de Janeiro’s Environmental Exchange BVRio in consultation with a range of buyers, producers, auditing companies, supply chain experts, NGOs, and government agencies in Brazil. BVRio has vast experience in building and operating environmental markets in Brazil.
Source: BV Rio