If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

FSC’s Christmas present for Schweighofer: Tracing wood is not required

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is disappointed that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has agreed to a roadmap that would allow Holzindustrie Schweighofer to regain FSC status, without resolving the underlying problem of illegal timber sourcing which led the FSC to cut ties with the Austrian timber giant in February. The Board of Directors of the FSC, made this decision in early December, but waited to publish it until just before the holiday.

In a misleading press release, the FSC claims that its conditions require that Schweighofer implement a “robust system for the traceability of round wood back to the forest stand.” Instead, the final Framework now requires only traceability of “legal ownership” of logs – meaning that instead of the wood itself, Schweighofer only needs to track paperwork.

“Filing ownership papers is not the same thing as tracing wood back to the forest”, said EIA’s Eurasia Programs Coordinator, David Gehl. “Paperwork can be easily falsified. The FSC’s statement misleads the public by naming a condition that is not included in the approved framework.”

The FSC had disassociated from Schweighofer in February 2017 due to “clear and convincing evidence” of extensive sourcing of illegal timber as well as involvement of the company’s employees in organized criminal groups in Romania. The company remains under investigation by Romania’s anti-organized crime authorities.

While Schweighofer has invested heavily in public relations and in a GPS tracking system for trucks delivering wood to its facilities, the main problem remains unsolved: between 30-50% of Schweighofer’s Romanian logs come from third-party “depots,” local companies that combine timber acquired from multiple harvesting sites and other log yards. EIA and others have documented repeatedly how these depots lack systems for tracking the origins of logs and routinely serve as hubs for laundering wood from questionable sources. In addition, a recent field investigation, conducted by EIA in the last two months, found illegal cutting in a national park linked to Schweighofer.

An FSC expert panel investigating the matter recognized the problem of “depot” sourcing and recommended in its 2016 report that, for Schweighofer to be re-associated in the future, all the company’s timber would need to “be traced from the stand in the forest to mill gate including any timber that is purchased from third parties.”

“If it wants to continue operating in high-risk timber sectors, Schweighofer needs to establish real physical traceability for its entire supply chain,” said Gehl. “If the FSC reinstates Schweighofer before this condition is fulfilled, the FSC will once again put its stamp on the destruction of Europe’s last old-growth forests.”

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

South Korea Says "아니요" (No) to Illegal Timber
11/08/2018
South Korea has joined the ranks of countries prohibiting the import of illegal timber.
Not One More: Another Activist Silenced by Arrest in Madagascar
06/07/2018
Christopher Magnenjiky was arrested for obscure and unjust reasons mid-May 2018

Recent Reports

Authorized Plunder
12/12/2018
A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Authorized Plunder, documents how the sale of 180,000 rosewood logs in Guinea-Bissau, enabled by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), is fueled by high-level corruption, encourages illegal logging, and threatens local communities.
New legal risks for Japanese timber sourcing from Eastern Europe
09/28/2018
Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains may seem remote for most Japanese, but lumber stolen from these ancient forests permeates Japan’s housebuilding sector. New reports from Romania and Ukraine reveal the extent of illegal logging, corruption, and bribery practiced by some of Europe’s largest wood processors.

Recent Press Releases

New LEED Credit Rewards Timber Transparency and Traceability
03/19/2019
New LEED credit rewards timber transparency and traceability
EIA Statement on the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 864)
01/30/2019
EIA strongly supports the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 864) introduced today by Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK).

Recent Videos

În Spatele Scenelor: Cum se ascund distrugerile pădurilor antice din Europa
07/26/2018
În Spatele Scenelor: Cum se ascund distrugerile pădurilor antice din Europa
Behind The Scenes: How Log Yards Hide the Destruction of Europe’s Ancient Forests
07/13/2018
Behind the Scenes takes detailed look at how the Austrian timber giant Holzindustrie Schweighofer, one of the largest wood processors in Romania, continues to fuel the destruction of Europe’s last old growth forests, in spite of five years of pledges not to source timber from national parks or protected areas.
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!