Wood identification services in support of legal supply chains: A market study

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Major wood-importing markets, such as the European Union, the United States of America, and China, have set regulations in place requiring operators to only sell wood-based goods that are sourced and processed in accordance with local laws. Customs, CITES or other official trade documentation require to accurately state the geographic origin, tree species, and in some cases, age of a wood-based product. However, it frequently happens that these are consciously or unknowingly misreported. Various wood identification technologies can be used to verify trade declarations by assessing the anatomical, genetic, and the chemical properties of wood. Through literature review and an online global expert survey, we analysed the market potential for wood identification technologies. Our study finds a substantial but largely unexplored market. Key issues that need to be addressed are a lack of awareness, limited accessibility and availability of the technologies, and limitations in applicability caused by the lack of reference samples and data. The technologies are applied more by law enforcement than by traders in context of due diligence. Wood identification has less uptake in nations scoring lower on governance indexes. Potential private and public sector users should also be better informed about the capabilities and limitations of these technologies. Our findings are of particular interest to competent authorities and business developers in wood identification and/or chain of custody certification.


Van Brusselen, J., Cramm, M., Tegegne, Y.T. (2023). Wood identification services in support of legal supply chains: A market study. Sustainable Futures 6 (2023) 100128.