Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 1st March 2005.

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Photo of Ms Sue Doughty Ms Sue Doughty Shadow Minister (the Environment), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the US based Sustainable Forest Initiative has been endorsed by the Central Point of Expertise on Timber.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Sustainable Forest Initiative was assessed in October 2004 to determine if its certification scheme provides assurance of legal and sustainable timber as defined in the Government's model contract terms and conditions.

The Government has concluded that SFI's forest management standards and chain of custody system do meet the Government's contract criteria for assurance of legal harvesting but do not provide the required assurance of Sustainable forest management. The issue for the Government is not with SFI's forest management standards, which were found to be adequate, but with the chain of custody system which does not enable the consumer to determine the percentage of certified timber in the finished product. The Government could accept a combination of an SFI certificate and additional verification of the certified timber element but, as matters stand, a certificate alone would not suffice. Action to Implement this assessment will be effective from May 2005.

The full report on the five main certification schemes assessed can be found on the sustainable development in Government website at: http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/sdig/improving/pdf/f-cpet.pdf

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