About

IMM independently assesses trade and market impacts of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) in the EU & UK and partner countries.

Mission

Funded by the EU and managed by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the IMM’s role is to use trade flow analysis and market research to independently assess trade and market impacts of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) in the EU and partner countries.

Objectives

  1.  To collect, analyse, report and disseminate information on acceptance and trends of FLEGT-licensed timber on the EU market
  2. To improve knowledge and understanding of the impacts of VPAs on timber prices, trade and market trends globally, especially with regard to VPA partner countries
  3. To ensure VPA countries and the EC provide reliable statistics and information on FLEGT timber trade
  4. To respond to requests and inform decisions by the VPA Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM) in Ghana and the Joint Implementation Committees (JICs) in other VPA countries by providing independent, timely and accurate information on market impact
  5. To contribute to monitoring the impacts of the FLEGT Action Plan and to inform its implementation
  6. To develop a long-term strategy for sustaining the IMM in consultation with the EU and VPA partner countries

Beneficiaries

The primary targets and beneficiaries of IMM data are the range of forestry stakeholders in FLEGT VPA countries. In fact, IMM responds to requests for independent timber market monitoring from VPA partner countries of which there are currently 15 at various stages of the initiative; from FLEGT licensing, through VPA implementation, ratifying and negotiation.

Stakeholders from government authorities and licensing bodies, as well as timber producers, exporters and importers, receive credible independent assessments of the trade and market impacts of their VPAs and clear information on targeted market sectors to help focus market development activities.

Forestry stakeholders in other tropical wood trading countries also benefit from IMM activities, especially those negotiating or interested in the prospect of a VPA. With access to IMM data, they are better placed to assess a VPA’s market benefits.

EU Member States gain insights into the perceptions and reception of FLEGT-licensed timber from IMM’s market analyses and surveys. IMM information is also intended to help assess effectiveness and efficiency of EU policies against illegal logging and illicit forest products trade.

The European timber industry benefits from access to high-quality trade flow data and market analysis as well as background information on VPA partner countries. Participation in IMM interviews and surveys also enables the trade to share their views with decision makers at national and EU level and voice support or criticism on FLEGT policy evolution.

Other consumer countries implementing or considering timber market legality regulation similar to the EU Timber Regulation can benefit from insights into potential VPA market impacts and effective regulatory mechanisms.

Methodology

As far as possible, IMM applies a single market-monitoring format to all VPA partner countries while also taking into consideration country specific circumstances and needs. A documented set of procedures has been developed to ensure market analysis is consistent, objective and transparent.

A framework of indicators has been developed to allow quantitative assessment of market impacts. These include “global” indicators to monitor the market environment for all FLEGT VPA timber. Examples include the market impacts of EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) implementation and the scope and content of public sector procurement policies. Other indicators monitor changing markets for VPA-licensed timber from each VPA country, for example the volume and value of national trade flows and price premiums for specific indicator products.

Outputs

The IMM Baseline Report published in 2015 covered VPA partner timber production and trade flows to the EU and other regions from 2004-2014. This report was updated by several IMM Annual Reports.

IMM market research in key EU and VPA partner countries was launched in 2015, with a series of pilot studies in Germany, Spain, the UK and Ghana; a summary of these pilot studies can be found in the report “VPA Partners in EU Timber Trade 2014-2016”.

Under the IMM’s 2017 work programme, these initial surveys were updated and further developed by a network of national correspondents. The country work programme was also expanded with appointment of additional correspondents in France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. This means IMM now has a dedicated correspondent network providing coverage of countries accounting for 90% of all EU tropical wood product imports from VPA countries. A scoping survey of Indonesia, the first country to issue FLEGT Licenses for its EU timber exports, was also initiated in 2017. VPA partner country correspondents were contracted for Viet Nam and Republic of the Congo in 2020, further widening the IMM network.

EU-based IMM correspondents use a combination of online surveys and interviews to gauge the trade’s views on the FLEGT VPA initiative, the level of trade with FLEGT VPA countries and on VPA countries’ timber sectors in terms of quality standards, technical proficiency and competitiveness. This work helps to assess the impact on importer sourcing preferences of FLEGT VPA engagement and licensing relative to other commercial factors.

Results from IMM surveys are published on a regular basis on this website, in the IMM newsletter and more fully in IMM Annual Reports. In 2018 IMM started publishing a series of “special studies” dedicated to individual sectors of timber products industry and trade or to topics that were highlighted as being of particular interest during the IMM trade surveys and consultations.

FAQs

How does IMM work?

IMM uses a combination of trade flow analysis and market surveys to independently assess market impacts of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements. IMM is funded by the European Commission and managed by the International Tropical Timber Organisation.

What benefits does IMM bring for VPA partner countries?
  • Timely and accurate information on timber and timber product trade flow developments between partner countries and the EU.
  • Information on trade flow trends between the EU and competing countries.
  • Information on forest sector trends and investment.
  • Information on general market trends for tropical timber products in the EU.
  • Information on EU trade perceptions of partner countries’ competitiveness (overall or for certain product groups).
  • Information on EU trade perceptions of FLEGT VPAs and FLEGT-licensed timber.
  • Information on trade impacts of FLEGT licensing.
  • Information on EU trade perceptions of EUTR implementation and its impacts on tropical timber trade.
To what extent can stakeholders be involved in IMM?
  • IMM VPA partner country correspondents have been appointed in Indonesia, Ghana, Viet Nam and Congo Republic and will be appointed in other countries once VPA implementation progresses towards licensing
  • IMM correspondents conduct annual surveys of stakeholders (authorities, trade/industry and civil society)
  • Surveys gauge stakeholders’ views of the VPA (e.g. whether implementation improves governance, forest management standards etc)
  • Surveys look into potential trade/market impacts of VPA implementation (e.g. whether timber supply shortages are resulting from implementation of the TLAS, or the TLAS has an impact on timber prices etc).
  • Broad stakeholder involvement is desirable as it improves the quality of information IMM can provide. 
How is IMM connected with other monitoring initiatives in VPA partner countries?
  • National IMM correspondents participate in technical meetings and use results from other monitoring initiatives to inform their own reports and research. They also update the IMM management team on research results of other monitoring initiatives.
  • Unlike national monitoring initiatives, IMM has a strong focus on global trade impacts of the FLEGT-VPA programme and especially impacts and perceptions in European consumer markets.