Risk score methodology

The Sourcing Hub’s risk score methodology

What does the risk score mean?

The risk score is a measure of the number of categories of laws that are at risk of being violated. The lower the score, the more widespread the risk of legal violations in the given country. 

We usually calculate one score per country. When a regional risk assessment is available, we produce a separate score for this specific region.

The Sourcing Hub is not ranking countries according to their scores because it does not provide an accurate basis for comparison. We identify whether categories of relevant laws are at risk of being violated, but we do not measure the volume of timber affected by that risk, nor do we differ consider the severity of the impact of the individual legal violation.

How are the scores calculated?

We have developed a score for each country that reflects how widespread the risk of illegality is across the categories evaluated. For each different timber source type in a country, we award:

1. 1 point for each category of law where there is a low risk of illegality.

2. 0 points for each category of law where there is an identified risk of illegality. An identified risk is called a ‘specified risk’. This naming convention is in line with the terminology used by a variety of forest certification schemes.

We then summarise the total number of legal categories that apply to a specific timber source. This is because not every country has laws relating to all the categories the Sourcing Hub considers in our risk assessments. 

We then calculate the score as a percentage: The number of points out of the total number of applicable laws.  

The score will reflect if there are discrete risk levels for different timber source types in a country. By ‘source type’ we mean various types and locations of forest – for example 

1. Plantation or natural forest

2. The geographical location of the forest

3. The forest is privately or publicly owned

4. If the forest is managed by the private sector or by a public agency

5. To calculate the country score, we take an average (the mean) of all the country's different timber source type scores.

For example, imagine a country with two timber source types; timber from natural forests and timber from plantations. In this example, there are more risks associated with timber from natural forests, which means you have:

For the natural forest source type:

Number of legal areas identified as being at low risk of being broken: 8

1. The number of applicable legal areas: 20. This is one less than the total number of legal areas because there is no legislation in this country requiring companies to obtain free, prior and informed consent for harvesting

2. The score for natural forests is then 8/20 x 100 = 40

For the plantations source type it would look like

1. Number of legal areas identified as being at low risk of being broken: 10

2. Number of applicable legal areas: 20, which is the same figure as above

3. Therefore the score for plantations: is 10/20 x 100 = 50

Since this example had two source types, the overall country score is an average (mean) of 40 and 50, which is 45.

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