Most Romanians identify timber transportation and wood harvesting among those most affected by illicit trade: this is an important conclusion of the sociological study carried out by IRES for the Association for Combating Illicit Traffic Viitorul (ACTIV).

The research, carried out on a nationally representative sample, investigates attitudes and intentions related to illicit trafficking in several industries (timber, tobacco, alcohol, clothing and footwear, food, pharmaceuticals or cosmetics, etc.) in the context of declining purchasing power and of the increase in the cost of living.

The study is available on the IRES website and reveals an accumulation of perceptions about the forest-timber sector:

  • The public perception is that the biggest legality problems are registered in the timber industry – 85% of respondents – high above markets traditionally associated with smuggling and illicit traffic, such as tobacco (81% of respondents) or alcohol (76%).
  • The responsibility for problems related to illicit traffic in the timber sector rests mainly with the authorities (Government – 34% and Parliament – 27%), and only to a small extent with the producers (12%).
  • Only 2% of respondents see stopping logging or timber exports as a solution.
  • The most important measure that the Romanian state can take to solve these problems, instead, is to collaborate with the industry operators and civil society.

We believe that, in this context, it is important that the authorities, representatives of manufacturers, distributors and traders join their efforts to inform people about all the risks they are exposed to when buying products from the black market

Antonio Amuza

sociologist, IRES

The Romanian Association of the Wood Industry – Prolemn participated in the debate organized on the occasion of the presentation of the survey results at the Parliament Palace.

The timber industry has no responsibilities in terms of forest management and harvesting, it is a buyer of wood already harvested and placed on the market. Industry operators are directly interested in the elimination of illegal traffic. The wood-processing industry makes special efforts, by implementing its own systems to ensure wood traceability and by adopting supplier audit and certification schemes, to minimize the risks of contamination of supply chains with illegally sourced wood. Prolemn has been sustaining an active dialogue with the state authorities since their foundation and wishes to ensure their availability and support for finding the most effective ways to close down the black market for wood and timber.

Catalin Tobescu

President, Prolemn

The Romanian Association of the Wood Industry – Prolemn has always shown its openness for constructive dialogue with the state authorities, making available the entire technical expertise of its members, companies active in the wood processing sector. It has been providing fast impact analysis and real-time opinions, always participated in public debates initiated by the Government and organized its own debates. Currently, Prolemn members participate in the development of the new National Forest Strategy at the expert group level.

Among the proposed measures submitted by Prolemn in the context of the shortage of wood resources on the market and the need to combat illegal logging:

  • A functional, effective, and sound traceability system SUMAL, with an alert module, which allows risk analysis and directing control to risk areas.
  • The National Forestry Authority – Romsilva should become a timber-market regulator and must ensure a satisfactory amount of wood resources, both for the population and for the industry.
  • Small forest owners should have simplified procedures for accessing the firewood resource from their own forests and from the vegetation outside the forest fund.
  • Implementation of a functional environmental assessment procedure, applicable for the future, with transitional measures for the arrangements currently in place so that there are no bottlenecks.
  • Correctly established auction starting prices, based on reference prices, on economic fundamentals.