1.18. Offshore trading and transfer pricing

Legislation regulating offshore trading. Offshore trading with related companies placed in tax havens combined with artificial transfer prices is a well-known way to avoid payment of legally prescribed taxes and fees to the country of harvest and considered as an important generator of funds that can be used for payment of bribery and black money to the forest operation and personnel involved in the harvesting operation. Many countries have established legislation covering transfer pricing and offshore trading. It should be noted that only transfer pricing and offshore trading as far as it is legally prohibited in the country, can be included here. Risk relates to situations when products are sold out of the country for prices that are significantly lower than market value and then sold to the next link in the supply chain for market prices, which is often a clear indicator of tax laundry. Commonly, the products are not physically transferred to the trading company.

1.17. Trade and transport

All required trading permits shall exist as well as legally required transport document which accompany transport of wood from forest operation. Risk relates to the issuing of documents permitting the removal of timber from the harvesting site (e.g., legally required removal passes, waybills, timber tags, etc.). In countries with high levels of corruption, these documents are often falsified or obtained by using bribery. In cases of illegal logging, transport documents from sites other than the actual harvesting site are often provided as a fake proof of legality with the harvested material.

1.16. Classification of species, quantities, qualities

Legislation regulating how harvested material is classified in terms of species, volumes and qualities in connection with trade and transport. Incorrect classification of harvested material is a well-known method to reduce/avoid payment of legality prescribed taxes and fees. Risk relates to material traded under illegal false statements of species, quantities or qualities. This could cover cases where this type of false classification is done to avoid payment of royalties or taxes or where trade bans on product types or species are implemented locally, nationally or internationally. This is mainly an issue in countries with high levels of corruption (CPI<50).

1.12. Legal employment

Legal requirements for employment of personnel involved in harvesting activities including requirement for contracts and working permits, requirements for obligatory insurances, requirements for competence certificates and other training requirements, and payment of social and income taxes withhold by employer. Furthermore, the points cover observance of minimum working age and minimum age for personnel involved in hazardous work, legislation against forced and compulsory labour, and discrimination and freedom of association. Risk relates to situations/areas where systematic or large scale noncompliance with labour and/or employment laws. The objective is to identify where serious violations of the legal rights of workers take place, such as forced, underage or illegal labour.

1.11. Health and safety

Legally required personnel protection equipment for persons involved in harvesting activities, use of safe felling and transport practice, establishment of protection zones around harvesting sites, and safety requirements to machinery used. Legally required safety requirements in relation to chemical usage. The health and safety requirements that shall be considered relate to operations in the forest (not office work, or other activities less related to actual forest operations). Risk relates to situations/areas where health and safety regulations are consistently violated to such a degree that puts the health and safety of forest workers at significant risk throughout forest operations.

1.10. Environmental requirements

National and sub national laws and regulations related to the identification and/or protection of environmental values including but not limited to those relating to or affected by harvesting, acceptable level for soil damage, establishment of buffer zones (e.g. along water courses, open areas, breeding sites), maintenance of retention trees on felling site, seasonal limitation of harvesting time, environmental requirements for forest machineries, use of pesticides and other chemicals, biodiversity conservation, air quality, protection and restoration of water quality, operation of recreational equipment, development of non-forestry infrastructure, mineral exploration and extraction, etc… Risk relates to systematic and/or large scale non-compliance with legally required environmental protection measures that are evident to an extent that threatens the forest resources or other environmental values.

1.9. Protected sites and species

International, national, and sub national treaties, laws, and regulations related to protected areas allowable forest uses and activities, and/or, rare, threatened, or endangered species, including their habitats and potential habitats. Risk relates to illegal harvesting within protected sites, as well as illegal harvest of protected species. Note that protected areas may include protected cultural sites, including sites with historical monuments.