When IWPA originally rolled out our Wood Trade Compliance Training and Due Diligence Tools course in 2016 we didn’t know quite what to expect. While there was clear demand for the latest information about best practices and available resources for compliance with the requirements of the Lacey Act, we weren’t able to quantify that demand because there had never been an industry-developed course quite like it. Thankfully, the course was extremely well-received, helping to foster and connect a new corps of compliance professionals that are armed with the latest knowledge and resources that allows their companies, from the smallest family businesses to huge multi-national corporations, to import wood products confidently.
The success of the originally course, which we have informally dubbed “Lacey Compliance 101,” has paved the way for a second series of more advanced courses. The first two of these courses, which will be taught around the country beginning in February, are “Advanced Wood Trade Compliance” and “Audits for the Wood Trade Professional.”
Exit surveys of attendees of the 101 course made it clear that they wanted as much information and instruction as they could get their hands on. Simply put, they want more. The Advanced Wood Trade Compliance course has been developed to meet that need. It builds on the original Wood Trade Compliance course by providing attendees with sourcing strategies, risk assessment methods, methods to validate supplier compliance and updates about regulatory developments and enforcement actions.
Attendees have also indicated that they want real-world tools that they can use. The Audits course has been developed to educate compliance professionals about the ways audits can be developed, implemented, and then used to address non-conformities and take corrective actions.
The rollout of these courses is especially timely as many in our industry are beginning to digest the recent legal settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Young Living Essential Oils, L.C. for illegal trafficking of rosewood oil and spikenard oil in violation of the Lacey Act. While this case involves essential oils rather than more traditional wood products, there are important lessons for our industry such as DoJ’s requirement that Young Living conduct periodic audits of its supply chain with frequency based on risk assessments.
In addition to the advanced Wood Trade Compliance courses, we at IWPA are working in a number of other ways to ensure that our members have the latest information about Lacey Act compliance. In January, IWPA co-hosted a webinar with attorneys from the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer about the Young Living settlement and its lessons for the imported wood products industry. IWPA members who were unable to attend the webinar in January can view it on the members-only portion of our website at www.IWPAwood.org.
Lacey Act compliance will also be a key topic at our annual World of Wood Convention from March 14-16 at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans where we will hold a panel discussion entitled “Due Care: A Supplier-Importer Partnership from the Compliance Professional’s Perspective” that will bring together compliance professionals to share some of their hard-earned insights.
We look forward to any opportunity to help IWPA members address compliance challenges. We strongly believe these new advanced courses are a proactive way to do just that.