Thursday, August 12, 2010

Floor Covering Institute updates Lacey Act investigation and UN's "Year of Forests"

Here are a couple interesting updates that I thought the flooring industry might like to know about.   Gibson Guitar Asked to Forfeit Illegal Lacey Guitars
News from the Gibson Guitar Lacey Act investigation comes today from the Nashville Business Journal. The government has filed a civil suit against Gibson seeking "official forfeiture" of the guitars they allege were partially made of wood deemed to be illegally sourced under the provisions of the Lacey Act.  

We are following this story because Gibson is the first to be investigated under the new provisions of the Lacey Act Amendments which bans illegally harvested timber from the US supply chain.  What the government does with Gibson could be applicable to how they  investigate and prosecute claims of illegal wood in the floor covering supply chain.

Lacey makes it a crime to receive, transport or sell timber products harvested in a manner contrary to the laws of the country from which the timber originated.  Once illegal wood enters the US supply chain, whether as a raw material or in a finished product such as flooring, a Lacey violation is triggered placing everyone in the downstream supply chain at risk of prosecution. In the case of Gibson, the government alleges that it used illegal Ebony in the construction of some of its guitars. Under the Lacey provisions, all products containing illegal wood can be confiscated, including floor covering, furniture, and toys, among many others. 

The flooring industry supply chain, and all other wood products industries, must employ a standard of “due diligence” to ascertain that the products they sell do not contain wood that was harvested illegally.  The National Wood Flooring Association is working with a group of timber stakeholders to get the standards of "due dillegence" clarified. We will keep you posted. You can read more about the due care standard at one of our earlier blog posts on The U.S. Lacey Act Amendments.

EU Bans Illegal Wood
In July the EU’s Parliament approved a ban similar to the Lacey Act which prohibits the sale of timber logged illegally under the rules on the country of origin.  According the parliament figures, at least 20 percent of the wood entering the EU now comes from illegal sources.  You can read more about this at

UN Proclaims 2011 International Year of Forests

The United Nations General Assembly has named 2011 the International Year of Forests and has requested the private sector, governments and NGOs raise public awareness of progressive forest management as a key element in building a sustainable global society.   In July the UN launched its official logo for this year long event.  More information and guidelines on the use of the logo can be found on the UN Forum on Forest website at The Floor Covering Institute will incorporate use of the logo and awareness of progressive forest management at the World Flooring Forum to be held in March 2011 at the Domotex international flooring show in Shanghai.

Thanks for reading,


Susan Negley is the Director of Communications for the Floor Covering Institute.

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