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IMM 2019 survey shows little change in overall FLEGT awareness 

The IMM 2017-2019 EU Trade Surveys recorded no significant changes in the overall level of awareness of the FLEGT VPA process (chart 1) among respondents over the last three years. The number of companies claiming to be “fully aware” of the process dropped by 17 percentage points in 2018, with some companies stating that they only realised that they had not fully understood the process after beginning to hear more about it. At the same time, the number of companies claiming to the be “totally unaware” of the process had risen as well. However, this was believed by IMM correspondents to have mainly been expressions of frustration with the duration of the process, which resurfaced in 2018, after initial euphoria over Indonesia achieving the Licensing stage in late 2016. In 2019, the number of “fully aware” companies increased again slightly, while the number of “totally unaware” companies fell. 

Overall, IMM surveys still indicate a need for awareness raising, especially further down the supply chain in the EU and in important third countries that implement the EUTR and give green lane status to FLEGT-licensed timber. 

Charts 1: Awareness of the FLEGT VPA process

Chart level of awareness

Source: IMM 2017/2018/2019 EU trade surveys

The 2019 IMM study of architects’ attitudes to tropical timber and FLEGT, for example, shows very limited awareness of FLEGT VPAs and FLEGT-licensing among this important group of market influencers. When asked to name an “EU process that aims to promote good forest governance in major timber supplying countries and guarantee the legality of all timber produced in those countries” almost 70% of respondents said they were not aware of such a process. 23% said they were aware of EU efforts to this effect, but had no particular knowledge of any specific process and only 9% were able to name the FLEGT VPA process  (chart 2).

IMM architects’ study highlights knowledge gaps over tropical timber as a building material

The architects’ survey also identified significant knowledge gaps over tropical timber as a building material and issues surrounding sourcing tropical timber, including on the environmental impact of using tropical timber in construction. Only 5% of all surveyed architects found that they had a reasonable level of knowledge upon graduation. 68% reportedly have little or no knowledge of tropical timber when graduating as architects (chart 3).

Interviewees were also asked if knowledge around forest governance would help with the narrative for choice of materials. With one exception all respondents stated that, to a degree, knowledge of forest governance could play a role in developing the narrative of their design or specifically with respect to their choice of materials (chart 4). 

Chart 2: Awareness of the FLEGT VPA process – IMM Architects Survey

Architects tt knowledge

Source: IMM study of architects’ perceptions and attitudes to FLEGT

Chart 3: Level of awareness around tropical timber – IMM Architects Survey

Architects tt knowledge

Source: IMM study of architects’ perceptions and attitudes to FLEGT

Chart 4: Knowledge of forest governance and narrative for choice of materials – IMM Architects Survey

Architects choice of material

Source: IMM study of architects’ perceptions and attitudes to FLEGT

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