The WWF-UK has revealed that imports from outside the EU are the furniture industry’s biggest challenge when dealing with legitimate timber sourcing.
According to its new report ‘Are you sitting comfortably? Sustainable timber sourcing and the UK furniture industry’, the WWF-UK has highlighted that 59% of furniture imported to the UK from outside the EU represents around €4.1bn (£3.5bn).
Within the category, China provides the most imported furniture at 42%, with Italy at 15% and Poland at 10% the other double-digit furniture importers. Vietnam and Germany followed at 8% and 7% respectively.
The WWF-UK report identified that only 42% of imported oak into the UK is from the EU, whilst over half is from Ukraine with some from Bosnia and Russia.
Total furniture imports from ‘high risk’ countries – those with recognised illegal logging and trade issues – are valued at €1.9bn (£1.6bn) - representing 600,000 tonnes - including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brazil and Indonesia.
Within the product sector, upholstered seating represents the highest value of imports from China at €515m (£443m), followed by wooden furniture parts at €305m (£262m) from Italy and other wooden furniture at €287m (£246m) from China.
On an overall basis upholstered seats is the highest valued product type, representing €732m (£629m) from the three main importers, China, Poland and Italy.