The OLB system or Origine et Légalité des Bois in French, which may be translated as Timber Origin and Legality, was developed in 2004 by Bureau Veritas Certification. It has been applied so far in several Central- and West-African countries and Asia. The system is designed to verify that timber has been legally produced, acquired and sold by a particular forestry or timber company.
OLB is based on a certificate intended for forest companies (OLB-FC management and logging certificate) and a certificate intended for processing and trading companies OLB-COC (chain of custody certificate).
The OLB-FC certificate is based on the standard for the certification of forest companies. This document describes the requirements to fulfil in order to comply with legal requirements in regard to forest management and logging activities, people employment, security, environment impact. It also deals with wood traceability within the company until the sale or primary processing.
The OLB-COC certification of wood processing and trading companies is based on the chain of custody standard. This document describes the requirements to meet to be entitled to sell OLB certified wood and to use the OLB trademark on companies’ products.
In addition to OLB certification, the wood processing and trading companies can be OLB+ certified.
The fulfilment of OLB+ requirements allows the company to demonstrate that it respects social and environmental supplementary principles as this is becoming increasingly a requirement for the general public, public procurements and international organizations. The fulfilment of the additional OLB+ requirements is an additional step which is optional but is not required to obtain the OLB certificate. OLB certification is verification up to EUTR standards, providing due diligence on compliance with legal requirements, ensure traceability and sustainable of forestry practices for timber and forest products.
Bureau Veritas Certification is a certification body accredited for other forest certification schemes and formally recognised by the European Commission as a Monitoring Organisation (MO).
However, without a FLEGT or CITES licence, OLB certification is no “green lane” to the European Union. Importers of only OLB certified timber still need to prove they implemented a due diligence where they may use OLB procedures.