For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Mike Burita
IWPA Announces Due Diligence Guildelines for Members at ITTO
New State and Federal Rules Support Increased Imported Wood Product Specification and Use
Yokohama, Japan: To maintain the highest standards and protections for its members in sourcing and trading imported wood products, the International Wood Products Association (IWPA) has released voluntary due diligence guidelines and resources for members. IWPA made the announcement this week at the forty-fourth session of the International Tropical Timber Council in Yokohama, Japan.
Developed by an IWPA task force, the due diligence packet assists members in increasing their protection from civil forfeiture measures outlined in the recent Lacey Act amendment and provides similar support documentation for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) ATCM on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products.
IWPA supports the ultimate goals of the regulations – to eliminate illegal logging and improve the environmental health aspects of composite wood products.
"IWPA members are comprised of many small, family-owned businesses that have been good actors in the imported wood trade for generations,” IWPA Executive Vice President Brent McClendon said. Our newly produced due-diligence packet reflects the best business practices our industry conducts, and assures customers that imported wood products are legal and environmentally sound—strengthening our competitive footing in the marketplace.” McClendon continued, “Architects, designers, manufacturers and distributors are increasingly specifying imported wood products for their beauty and durability. They've always known that the use of imported wood products supports the sustainable forest management of our world’s great forests. Because of Lacey and CARB, they now have complete confidence that they’ve also made a completely legal and environmentally responsible choice.”
Established in 1956, IWPA is the leading international trade association for the North American imported wood products industry, representing 220 companies and trade associations engaged in the import of hardwoods and softwoods from sustainably managed forests. Association members consist of three key groups involved in the import process: U.S. importers and consuming industries, offshore manufacturers and the service providers that facilitate trade.
In passing the new Lacey Act provisions, Congress intended for innocent owners, as defined in the CAFRA, to have a safe harbor from the seizure and forfeiture of the plants and plant products subject to the new provisions. In addition to assisting members with Lacey Act compliance, the due diligence documents also assist IWPA members with new stricter standards on formaldehyde emissions under new measures by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The new regulation applies to all raw panels or products including cabinetry, flooring, doors and furniture, which must be third-party certified and labeled to show compliance. The scope of the “innocent owner” defense in civil forfeiture proceedings against plants and plant products pursuant to the new Lacey Act provisions is subject to interpretation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. federal courts.
Included in the IWPA’s new due diligence documents is a supplier questionnaire that lists essential queries that an importer can and should review with their suppliers. Also included is a purchase order disclaimer which contains specifically designed language to comply fully with the legal requirements of the new Lacey Act provisions and the California Air Resources Board’s new regulation on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. Finally, members can access IWPA’s Policy Statement Regarding Legal Wood Sourcing and Product Safety, which demonstrate the due care exercised on purchases is being able to show a company's policy statement on these issues.
IWPA publishes information on the U.S. imported woods industry and works closely with organizations that can provide market information, trade data and technical assistance. A few include:
- IWPA Grading Rules: Internationally recognized product standards of IWPA are technical guidelines of principal types, grades and other requirements for imported wood products.
- Wood Species Library: Technical data on domestic, imported, and lesser-known species from the U.S. Forest Products Lab.
- U.S. Import Statistics: U.S. import statistics for both hardwood and softwood products.