FLEGT, certification and CITES

I export teak furniture from Indonesia to the EU. My customer asks me to use certification schemes to prove the wood is certified. Is it necessary to use such labels if I have the SVLK certificate? Can the SVLK certificate replace certificates from certification schemes and prove the timber is legal?

SVLK is the name of Indonesia’s national timber legality assurance system, which is a mandatory certification system built on a national multistakeholder consensus. Forest certification schemes are voluntary. Teak wood, and other timber products from plantations, are included in the scope of the SVLK, and thus must be SVLK certified, and must have V-Legal Documents or FLEGT licences to be exported from Indonesia. Exports of FLEGT-licensed timber automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation. Some individual operators may however choose to ask for additional certification, if their purchasing policy requires proof of sustainability.

What is the link between SVLK, FLEGT licensing and CITES in Indonesia?

The FLEGT Regulation and existing Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) state that timber products subject to the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations (annexes A, B and C) will not undergo the procedure described for the FLEGT-licensed products at the EU border.  

Nevertheless, existing VPAs apply their FLEGT legality assurance system also to species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Therefore it is possible that some CITES timber shipments are accompanied by both a CITES import permit (annexes A and B) or a CITES import notification (annex C) and a FLEGT licence.  

It is recommended, in cases where a FLEGT licence is declared for CITES timber, that the relevant Competent Authorities are informed. Customs may also report irregularities regarding CITES requirements in timber from Partner Countries to the Competent Authority, aiming at facilitating the review of the provisions on CITES as indicated in Article 4(3) of the FLEGT Regulation. 

If the FLEGT licence is available for Customs or Competent Authorities, irregularities in the FLEGT licence should lead to further verifications pursuing CITES compliance. 

Indonesia’s exports to the EU of products from CITES-listed species need both CITES documentation and the relevant export licence, which from 15 November 2016 will be a FLEGT licence.  

Indonesia’s Conformity Assessment Bodies verify CITES documentation during timber legality assurance system (SVLK) audits. The requirement is covered in the SVLK legality standards, except in the case of round logs or rough sawn timber whose export Indonesia prohibits, meaning they can never have CITES documentation nor be FLEGT-licensed.