The SGS ‘Timber Legality & Traceability Verification’ (TLTV) Program was evaluated by the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) against the Category B requirements for legality as set under the UK Government’s procurement policy on timber and timber products. The TLTV Program was found to be in compliance and is therefore, from now on, accepted as valid evidence of legality.

CPET is a service of the UK Government which was set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It is operated by ProForest Ltd., a company with wide experience in advising on responsible purchasing. CPET provides detailed information on the UK Government’s timber procurement policy and advice on how public sector buyers and their suppliers can meet these policy requirements in practice.

The UK public procurement policy on timber and timber products is mandatory for all central government departments, agencies and sponsored bodies and requires them to actively seek to buy timber products from legal and sustainable sources. Evidence of compliance with the UK Government’s timber procurement policy can be provided in two categories: Category A and Category B. Category A refers to the supply of products where the source of the timber and all links in the supply chain are covered by CPET recognized forest management and chain-of-custody certification schemes.

Category B evidence is all other credible evidence that material is from forests which meet the requirements for legality and/or sustainability. Broadly, Category B evidence will indicate that the forest source meets the UK Government's criteria for legal and/or sustainable timber. A demonstrable chain-of-custody will link the end-purchase with the forest source. Where there is a certified source (i.e. a certified forest supplying the material) then certificates can be used along with CPET Checklist 1 on supply chain information to demonstrate compliance. Where the forest source is not certified, then Checklist 2 (Forest Source Legality) and Checklist 3 (Forest Source Sustainability) should be used to demonstrate the legal and/or sustainable origin of the wood.

Responding to the needs of both timber producers and consumers, SGS TLTV developed from a pilot project in 2005 into a systematic program of services that verify forestry companies’ compliance against the comprehensive TLTV Legality of Production (LP) Standard. The legal timber trail to the markets is then controlled through Chain-of-Custody (CoC) audits of the processing or trading companies. The TLTV LP/CoC Statements issued by SGS enjoy international market recognition and provide independent assurance to customers, stakeholders, and investors on the legality of the company, its operations, activities and products. With, to date, 4.2 Mio ha of TLTV verified forests belonging to 7 forestry companies in 3 African countries in the Congo Basin (Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon), and 11 TLTV CoC Statements issued in 10 countries in Europe, America, and Asia, the program is steadily growing and imposing itself as a global benchmark for robustness, credibility, and market acceptance.

Established in 1878, with Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, SGS is the world’s largest inspection, verification and testing company. With branches in 140 countries and over 50,000 staff, SGS provides services to the automotive, consumer product, environmental, industrial, life science, mining, oil & gas, and quality assurance sectors as well as services to governments and institutions. SGS has no trading or manufacturing interests and its services are based on impartiality, independence and integrity.


Juliane Lemcke
TLTV Service Manager