MEPs today agreed two landmark trade agreements to stop illegal logging and protect the world's forests.
The EU has signed two voluntary agreements, ensuring imported timber is legally sourced, with Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo. They are part of the EU's action plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade.
Our forests are the planet's natural defence against carbon emissions. However, in many countries across the world illegal loggers are tearing them down. Countries often import timber without checking if it was legally sourced. Breaking laws on harvesting and transporting timber is commonplace in most timber producing countries - so people in South East England could be buying illegal timber and funding illegal logging without ever realising.
South East Euro MP Catherine Bearder, who has been working on these agreements in Brussels, said:
"Illegally sourced timber is today's version of conflict blood diamonds. Illegal loggers are exploiting our forests and killing our planet."
"People from Kent may buy a piece of furniture and have no idea they're funding illegal loggers to destroy our planet's valuable resources."
"These landmark agreements are a crucial step towards stopping illegal logging."
"The fact these agreements are voluntary shows the commitment around the world to protecting forests and to saving our planet."
"When buying items made from timber, I hope people will now ask, "Is this wood legally sourced?