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Commemorating Ten Years Combatting Illicit Timber Trade and Forest Crime

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the 2008 U.S. Lacey Act Amendments – landmark legislation aimed at halting the destructive and criminal practice of illegal logging. The 2008 amendment to the century-old Lacey Act expanded coverage to plants, including the harvest and trade of stolen timber. The legislation represented not only a huge step forward for protecting the environment, it also leveled the playing field for U.S. businesses aiming to play by the rules, which were losing market share to underpriced and plentiful illicit timber, often emanating from criminal enterprises overseas.

The 2008 Lacey Act amendment, passed with strong bipartisan support, was the first of its kind, pioneering the concept of due diligence and traceability in the global timber trade. An unprecedented coalition of industry stakeholders, environmental organizations, and labor unions all supported passage of the amendments in 2008, and continue to press for effective implementation and enforcement. Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden, original sponsors of Lacey Amendment legislation, hosted an event to mark the anniversary and remain strong and principled champions for strategic, well-funded implementation and enforcement of the law ten years later.

Since then, other countries and regions – including the EU, Australia, Japan and, most recently, Mexico – have passed similar legislation refusing the entry of stolen wood into their markets. These are essential steps to transform the global timber trade and ensure that illegal timber and wood products are also not welcome in key consuming countries.

Today, as we celebrate the early successes of the Lacey Act amendments, we also recognize there is more to be done. The strongest weapons against global forest crime are transparent, traceable supply chains and publicly available trade and harvest data. In order to effectively break the chains of secret criminal trade, however, more transparency, compliance and enforcement is needed. And the principles that underlie the Lacey Act approach should also be considered as we look at various commodities (such as oil palm, beef, soy and cacao) that are driving wide-scale deforestation, often through illegal means and at the expense of local and indigenous community rights as well as local biodiversity and important ecosystems.

We should all be asking, where did this product come from and have that information available to make consumer choices that support the future of the forests and the sustainability of law-abiding companies.

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Recent Blog Posts

Raw Intelligence: TBNI
06/12/2019
The managers of the company Transport Bois Négoce International (TBNI) know how to make big money off of logging the Congo Basin forest while keeping their profit hidden from Gabonese authorities. Yet their methods remain a secret no more, as company officials described in detail to EIA investigators the tricks of their trade.
Intelligence Brute: TBNI
06/12/2019
Les dirigeants de la société Transport Bois Négoce International (TBNI) savent comment gagner beaucoup d’argent en exploitant les forêts du Bassin du Congo, tout en gardant leurs bénéfices bien cachés aux yeux des autorités gabonaises. Mais leurs méthodes ne sont plus un secret, car l’un des responsables de la société a décrit en détail ces manigances aux enquêteurs sous-couverts d'EIA.

Recent Reports

Toxic Trade: Forest Crime in Gabon and the Republic of Congo and Contamination of the US Market
03/25/2019
For four years, EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s findings reveal that one of the largest and most influential Chinese timber companies in Africa, the “Dejia Group,” has built its business model on bribery and crime.
Commerce Toxique
03/24/2019
Pendant quatre ans, l’Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) a enquêté sur le secteur de l’exploitation forestière au Gabon et en République du Congo, deux pays qui représentent environ 60% de la super cie totale allouée à l’exploitation forestière dans le bassin du Congo.

Recent Press Releases

California Green Lights Incentive Program to Reduce HFCs
06/14/2019
This week California’s legislature approved a 2019-2020 budget providing $1 million to create an incentive program for reducing emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Established by the California Cooling Act (SB1013) passed last year, the program will incentivize adoption of climate-friendly refrigerant technologies, with a mandate to also consider other co-benefits such as energy efficiency and opportunities for increasing recovery, reclamation, and destruction of refrigerants at end-of-life.
Toxic Trade: Forest Crime in Gabon and the Republic of Congo and Contamination of the US Market
03/25/2019
For four years, EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s findings reveal that one of the largest and most influential Chinese timber companies in Africa, the “Dejia Group,” has built its business model on bribery and crime.

Recent Videos

Raw Intelligence: TBNI
06/12/2019
The managers of the company Transport Bois Négoce International (TBNI) know how to make big money off of logging the Congo Basin forest while keeping their profit hidden from Gabonese authorities. Yet their methods remain a secret no more, as company officials described in detail to EIA investigators the tricks of their trade.
Intelligence Brute: TBNI
06/12/2019
Les dirigeants de la société Transport Bois Négoce International (TBNI) savent comment gagner beaucoup d’argent en exploitant les forêts du Bassin du Congo, tout en gardant leurs bénéfices bien cachés aux yeux des autorités gabonaises. Mais leurs méthodes ne sont plus un secret, car l’un des responsables de la société a décrit en détail ces manigances aux enquêteurs sous-couverts d'EIA.
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