Seven pillars of FLEGT

This section explains the EU FLEGT Action Plan’s seven broad elements, which are listed below. It describes progress and provides case studies and reporting tips. Among the topics covered are the EU Timber Regulation and Voluntary Partnership Agreements between the EU and timber exporting countries outside the EU.



Public procurement policies


With 15 to 20 percent of wood purchases in most EU countries being made by governmental bodies, this was an obvious place to focus the struggle against the illegal timber trade. Good public procurement policies can also have a powerful influence on private sector policies.

Public procurement policies are government policies which set out the requirements for products bought by government and public agencies. Under the EU FLEGT Action Plan, EU Member States are encouraged to develop criteria for all relevant forest products. Applying these criteria ensures that the products are independently verified as legal and/or sustainable. The European Commission’s Handbook on Green Procurement explains how to ensure public procurement helps achieve sustainable development objectives.

So far, 19 EU Member States have put procurement policies in place to ensure government projects do not use illegal timber. For instance, in 2013, the UK initiated its public procurement system which is available here. Some of these policies recognise FLEGT licences as evidence of legality or legality and sustainability.

At the annual FLEGT Week conference in 2015, consultant Duncan Brack said there is evidence public procurement policies are increasing market share for verified legal and sustainable timber. He added that growing commitments by private companies to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains are likely to encourage further uptake of procurement policies for sustainable timber. 


Reporting tips

Useful sources of information on public procurement policies in the context of FLEGT include:

Questions to consider

  • How important is public procurement of timber products in each country?
  • What do private sector and civil society stakeholders think about the public procurement policy? Is it robust, fair and effective?
  • Is the public procurement policy implemented and enforced?
  • What evidence is there that the policy is effective?
  • How was the policy developed? Who contributed to it?

Credit: EU FLEGT Facility

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