Countries exporting FLEGT-licensed timber products gain because these products are considered legal under the EU Timber Regulation, making business easier for companies in the EU that import them.
Once a country is issuing FLEGT licences, EU Member States will not allow its products to enter their markets unless they have a valid FLEGT licence. This approach helps the country crack down on illegality and manage its forest resources for future generations.
FLEGT licensing systems in tropical countries also close down opportunities for corruption. And by ensuring that companies are paying all relevant taxes and fees, they boost state revenues and scope for investment in the timber sector and wider development goals. They also level the playing field for legitimate businesses, by identify those that are not playing by the rules and supporting law enforcement action by the authorities.
It’s not only the big companies that benefit. FLEGT-licensing countries ensure that small and medium enterprises are not left behind, helping them adapt procedures and capacities so they can comply with the law and participate in markets that are increasingly demanding responsible trade.
And the country also gains through its development of more competent, coordinated and accountable institutions. Government agencies with responsibilities for forestry, customs, labour, finance and law enforcement all have roles to play in the delivery of FLEGT-licensed products. As countries pursue the goal of exporting these products, they strengthen these institutions, ensuring they can work more effectively to achieve sustainable development.
Perhaps one of the most profound changes in FLEGT-licensing countries is the way government, society and the private sector interact. The journey towards FLEGT licensing brings these groups together like never before, to discuss problems and make shared decisions about how to tackle them.
It builds trust where relations were poor. It creates consensus and partnership in a shared future. And it ensures that, for the first time, everyone who is connected to the country’s forests can have a say in how they are managed.