Lacey Act

The 2008 Farm Bill amended the century-old Lacey Act to require more detailed customs declarations for imported wood products. The goal was to enlist U.S. Customs, the Department of Justice and other authorities in the fight against illegal logging in foreign countries.

How does the Lacey Act address illegal logging? To address illegal logging and other illegal plant trade, the amended Lacey Act does three primary things:

Prohibits all trade of plants and plant products that are illegally sourced from any U.S. state or foreign country; Requires importers to declare the country/origin of harvest and species name of all plants contained in their products; Establishes penalties for violations of the law, including forfeiture of goods and vessels, fines and even jail time.

How do furniture companies comply with the Lacey Act? The Lacey Act requires companies to provide official documentation to prove the wood in imported furniture products has not been harvested illegally. Prior to the 2008 Lacey Act amendments, imported wood products required permits, documents and other paperwork required under international and national laws and regulations. Unfortunately, products from some regions of the world are often accompanied by forged documents.

Furniture importers should institute internal policies and procedures to track forest products and reduce the risk of non-compliance. Options include gaining a clearer understanding of their supply chain, requiring documentation that traces products back to the forest, seeking third-party certification of products, and exercising extra care or even discontinuing business with regions known or suspected to have high rates of illegal logging.

Eco3Home provides education and tools to help companies meet their responsibilities under the Lacey Act. Only Lacey-compliant products may carry the Eco3Home label.