The UK Government will continue to accept the MTCC scheme as assurance of legally harvested timber. According to a press release issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on 18 December 2006, five certification schemes designed to combat illegal logging and protect forests worldwide have been given the UK Government seal of approval after a detailed review to check their continuing effectiveness.
The first review of the schemes, including the MTCC scheme, by the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) found that the standards and procedures of the schemes continue to merit their current CPET approval status that was first given in November 2004. The assessment by CPET, an expert group appointed by DEFRA, is to provide the assurance to central government departments in the UK that they are buying timber from responsible sources.
According to CPET, from now on, all MTCC-certified timber products meet the requirements for legality. Previously, only products containing 100% certified raw materials (e.g. sawn timber and mouldings) met the requirements.
The review of the MTCC scheme was based on the current forest management standard used, i.e. the Malaysian Criteria, Indicators, Activities and Standards of Performance for Forest Management Certification [MC&I(2001)], which is based on the 1998 International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests. Although the MTCC scheme was assessed as not quite meeting the CPET criteria for sustainability, CPET has acknowledged that MTCC is working to improve its standard in this respect.
MTCC is in the process of using a new standard, the Malaysian Criteria and Indicators for Forest Management Certification [MC&I(2002)] for the next phase of its scheme, and will work closely with DEFRA and CPET during the period leading to the next review, which is due in 2008, by providing information on the use of the MC&I(2002) and other developments in the MTCC scheme.