Will Revisions to the Lacey Act Change Industry Behavior?
The Lacey Act, a 100 year-old law that prohibits trafficking in illegal wildlife, was amended this year to protect a broader range of plant products, specifically addressing illegal logging. Through the revision, the United States became the first country in the world to ban the importation, exportation and sale of illegally-sourced wood products. Gone are the days of American companies not asking questions regarding chain-of-custody because no one was holding them accountable if they did not know the answers.
The law stipulates that even people who unknowingly purchase illegally-sourced wood will face civil and criminal penalties. The end goal is to mandate the adoption of new tracking and sourcing practices on the international level — and save our world's forests and their inhabitants. For detailed information on the Lacey Act and an excellent video on its background, visit the Environmental Investigation Agency at www.eia-global.org.
Print Buyers Online.com recently asked our members if they felt the Lacey Act would affect print buyers’ purchases. Interestingly, 78% of print buyer respondents said it would not affect their buying behavior and 87% of print supplier respondents said it would not affect their clients’ businesses.
Even more interestingly, we had the smallest response rate of any Quick Poll ever distributed. Granted, this could be due to the fact that it went live during Thanksgiving week — but with 11% of print buyers saying they “did not know” what the Lacey Act was, perhaps people are unclear on how the revision will affect them on a professional level.
As one print buyer put it, “This is a nice thought, but I do not know how there can be effective enforcement of this provision since the U.S. is the only signer of this treaty.”
I find the passing of this legislation to be remarkable — and I believe it can greatly impact how buying companies are sourcing their paper. Yet it seems to me that both buyers and suppliers are really in the dark about the potential repercussions. Bottom line: you must understand the sources of your paper products. Of course it all comes down to enforcement, so only time will tell how this will play out.