A review of the use of public procurement policies for timber and timber products undertaken in 2014 found that 19 countries in the EU (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and at least seven outside the EU (Australia, China, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland) have such policies in place at central government level (Brack, 2014).
Public procurement policies can play an important role in encouraging trade in legal and sustainable timber. Government purchasing of timber can account for a significant proportion of all timber purchasing, and therefore has considerable potential to influence buying practices and to promote good business practices across the timber market as a whole. Public procurement policies vary in scope; they may require that buyers source legal and/or sustainable products; include all timber products or only some of these; and be applicable to different levels of government and types of government agency. They may also be mandatory or voluntary.