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Wood Trade Compliance Training Courses Move Online to Address Travel Challenges

Posted By Cindy L. Squires, Esq., Friday, July 31, 2020
During my time leading IWPA, one constant for me and so many of our industry leaders has been travel. Travel to conventions, tradeshows, visiting members, participating in key meetings, it seemed like it would never end. That is until COVID-19 shut down so many things, including non-essential travel. We at IWPA have worked hard to be quick and nimble in our efforts to meet our industry’s needs in the new era of restricted travel. First we moved the World of Wood Annual Convention online. And now we have decided to move several of our Wood Trade Compliance Training courses online as well.

For the first time this fall IWPA will be offering three courses from its industry-leading Wood Trade Compliance Training via live online classes on the Zoom platform. These live, virtual courses will deliver the same intensive and interactive instruction on sourcing and compliance. Each course will be taught for two hours per day from 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time to facilitate participation by wood trade professionals across North America.

Registration is now open for the following courses:

Week 1
Advanced Wood Trade Compliance - September 29-October 1
This advanced course builds on the topics covered in the original Wood Trade Compliance course. For sourcing strategies, risk assessment methods, validation of supplier compliance to requirements and updates on the latest regulations and enforcement actions will be covered in this day long course. Prerequisite completion of the Wood Trade Compliance Training course.

Day 1 – Tuesday, September 29th
2pm – 4pm EDT (11am – 1pm PDT)

Day 2 – Wednesday, September 30th
2pm – 4 pm EDT (11am – 1pm PDT)

Day 3 – Thursday, October 1st
Self-Paced Learning Online Modules

Day 4 – Friday, October 2nd
2pm – 4pm EDT (11am – 1pm PDT)

Week 2
Wood Products Supply Chain Mapping - October 6 & 7
This advanced due diligence training course covers the basics of typical forest regulatory structures to aid the wood trade professional in understanding the wood and forest regulatory scheme of their wood sources. The course covers techniques on engaging your supplier and how to map a supply chain.

Day 1 – Tuesday, October 6th
2pm – 4pm EDT (11am – 1pm PDT)

Day 2 - Wednesday, October 7th
2pm – 4pm EDT (11am – 1pm PDT)

Formaldehyde Emissions Regulations - October 8 & 9
The advanced course concentrates on emissions standards applicable to plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particle board and products that contain them . Buying and labeling basics, product coverage and exemptions, importer and distributor responsibilities, documentation requirements and updates on the most recent enforcement cases will be presented and discussed.

Day 1 – Thursday, October 8th
2pm – 4pm EDT (11am – 1pm PDT)

Day 2 - Friday, October 9th
2pm – 4pm EDT (11am – 1pm PDT)

Tags:  Due Care  EPA  Formaldehyde  Lacey Act  Wood Trade Compliance Training 

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Coverage of New Study on Labeling Errors Misses the Point

Posted By Cindy L. Squires, Esq., Friday, November 8, 2019
Updated: Friday, November 8, 2019
This summer, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, and the U.S. Forest Service released a study about the efficacy of forensic testing (including the unreliability of forensic wood anatomy) and the labeling claims of products containing wood that has garnered sensational headlines. In November, MarketWatch used the study to conclude that “Your Hardwood Floor was Probably Harvested Illegally.” While a greater understanding of legitimate fraud and misrepresentation is helpful, this shallow reading of the study is reflected by the misleading MarketWatch headline. We should not confuse the diversity of tree species with legality.

The study, titled “Fraud and misrepresentation in retail forest products exceeds U.S. forensic wood science capacity,” tested 73 consumer products acquired from major U.S. retailers against product claims about wood species (is the species claimed accurate) and product type (e.g. solid wood versus composite wood). The study’s authors conclude that 62% of products tested had either an incorrect species claim, an incorrect product type, or both. In my view, it is an irresponsible – and indefensible – leap then to extrapolate from those findings that “your hardwood floor was probably harvested illegally.”

Monocultures do not exist in the forest – especially in the tropics. It is estimated that one hectare of land in a tropical forest can hold 650 tree species. In 2015, researchers from 43 countries determined that 40,000 to 53,000 tropical and subtropical tree species exist. In contrast, North America is home to roughly 1,000 tree species, a little over 200 of those are traded commercially. With such diversity, it isn’t surprising at all that species identification is a considerable challenge. Species identification can even be a challenge for plantations where it is likely that volunteer pioneer tree species will emerge and mix into the planted stand without active expert management.

While the U.S. Lacey Act declaration form and CITES permits require explicit information about genus and species, stakeholders that sell products containing wood have long used “marketing names” to group species with similar characteristics for simplicity and to build demand for these species. Such marketing can reduce pressure on more well-known species. There are also legitimate reasons for species substitution, such as fiber availability and when the aesthetics and performance characteristics are similar enough to be fit for purpose. It is important that product labeling not contradict such uses. That is why we have taught a helpful mnemonic device on labeling claims: If it’s ON the box, it’s IN the box.

Wood is a remarkable renewable resource. Its beauty and performance cannot be beat by non-wood substitutions. IWPA will continue to work with our members and government and NGO partners to build acceptance and demand for this resource and address instances like the press accounts that mistakenly sow doubt about its use.

Tags:  Biodiversity  Labeling  Lacey Act 

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