Case summary

In April 2021, a German lower court found persons working for WOB Timber GmbH in breach of a European Union (EU) timber trade regulation and evading specific EU sanctions on Myanmar timber (no longer in force since May 2013) regarding imports between June 2008 and May 2011. WOB Timber has appealed the lower court ruling and denies any violation of EU sanctions or illegal trade in forest products. 

The German Federal Supreme Court has suspended the appeal proceedings and referred the case to the Court of Justice of the EU for a preliminary ruling. FSC holds the view that the lower court ruling provides substantial information of a potential violation of the FSC Policy for Association of Organizations (FSC-POL-01-004 V2-0), policy element (a) illegal logging or the trade in illegal wood or forest products. 

WOB Timber does not agree with FSC’s position. 

Process updates

Direct decision - phase 3

Final decision - direct decision

Final decision

FSC constitutes a team from a pool of pre-approved experts called the decision panel to review evidence and take a binding decision on the merits of the case. The decision panel can decide to maintain association with the corporate group, to maintain association with conditions, or to recommend to the FSC Board of Directors disassociation. The FSC Board of Directors is mandated to make a final binding decision on disassociation from the corporate group.

Update: The decision panel recommended FSC to maintain  association with conditions with WOB Timber GmbH, which has been approved by the FSC International Board of Directors. In June 2023, FSC and WOB Timber signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which stipulates the conditions that WOB Timber shall fulfil within 12 months for maintaining association with FSC. For more information, read the press release here.

Information review - direct decision

Information review

Wherein FSC deems there is sufficient substantial information to support an allegation of an unacceptable activity, FSC shall move directly to decision making. The decision panel shall review the information and decide on the sufficiency of the information to conclude whether an unacceptable activity has occurred.  

Update: The decision panel has been constituted. The provisions of Policy for Association, version 2 is applied in this case because the unacceptable activity took place prior to 1 January 2023.   

Preliminary evaluation

Preliminary evaluation

FSC evaluates all available information to determine the application of the Policy for Association against the applicable version according to the allegations.  FSC then undertakes an evaluation on the implementation of alternative dispute resolution tools to resolve the issue(s) taking into consideration exigency, the subject matter and willingness of the parties to engage in dialogue.  FSC takes a decision to proceed with ADR or move to investigation or a direct decision via a decision panel.

Update: FSC International proactively launched a Policy for Association (PfA) case against WOB Timber GmbH. This case will be managed using the Direct Decision process.