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

Depot Deception: New EIA video documents systematic timber laundering by Schweighofer suppliers

WASHINGTON, DC – A new video released today from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) shows that Romanian suppliers to the Austrian timber giant Holzindustrie Schweighofer (Schweighofer) appear to be systematically laundering logs through real and fictitious log depots to obscure their forest origins. Given the high risk of illegal logging in Romania and the wealth of evidence that Schweighofer has previously sourced illegal timber, the company’s extensive sourcing from log depots presents a particular challenge to the company as it struggles to clean up its supply chain.

Romanian law requires that all log transports originating from a logging site contain an APV number (actul de punere în valoare), linking the logs to a specific forest harvesting permit. In contrast, subsequent transports of logs, including from log depots, do not contain this APV number.

In September 2016, EIA investigators witnessed a number of trucks entering Schweighofer’s sawmill in Sebeș, Romania. The officially listed origin for 80% of these trucks was in log depots – most of which were located within seven kilometers of the company’s sawmill.

In one instance, investigators observed a log truck entering the town of Sebeș, with an official transport document showing origin in the forest, with an APV number. Thirty minutes later, the same truck entered Schweighofer’s sawmill – now registered with a new transport document originating from a depot, but for the exact same quantity of wood. The GPS coordinates for this new document show that it was registered not in a depot, but in a random location on the freeway less than one kilometer from Schweighofer’s sawmill.

In December 2016, Romania’s Ministry of the Environment launched a new website called Forest Inspector, providing public access to detailed information about all timber transports in the country. Analysis of transports visible on this website shows that in the month of September alone, over 300 trucks in the Sebeș area used a similar mechanism – registering new “depot” transport documents for the exact same volume, on the exact same day, as an earlier “forest” document, demonstrating the widespread nature of this laundering scheme. Twelve percent of these came from within or just outside of natural parks.

“The lack of forest origin information in so many of Schweighofer’s log purchases makes it impossible for the company to ensure legal timber sourcing,” said David Gehl, Eurasia Programs Coordinator at EIA. “With the Forest Inspector website, Romanian citizens now have a unique way to help protect their forests by holding companies to account for buying legal wood.”

EIA’s new video comes after a surprise decision by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ignore the recommendations of its panel report to disassociate itself from Schweighofer due to findings that the company had extensively sourced illegal logs and had an inadequate due diligence system for excluding illegal timber. The FSC panel further recommended that Schweighofer ensure that “all timber can be traced from the stand in the forest to mill gate including any timber that is purchased from third parties.”

“Schweighofer’s customers should demand that the company publicly release proof of the legal forest origin of every board it sells,” said Gehl. “Until Schweighofer does this, its customers should know that they could be buying illegal wood.”

Watch The 'S' Files Case #1: Ghost Trucks and Case #2: Un-Natural Parks here.

###

Contact: Maggie Dewane, EIA Press Officer, mdewane@eia-global.org, +1(202)-483-6621

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

Legal Markets Like Those in Japan Enable Traders to Launder Illegal Ivory and Frustrate Enforcement
05/22/2019
Legal Markets Like Those in Japan Enable Traders to Launder Illegal Ivory and Frustrate Enforcement
Raw Intelligence: WCTS
05/22/2019
In this second installment of EIA’s Raw Intelligence series, we introduce you to the company Wan Chuan Timber Sarl (WCTS) – perhaps the worst offender of crimes committed against the forests and the people of Gabon.

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

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.
New LEED Credit Rewards Timber Transparency and Traceability
03/19/2019
New LEED credit rewards timber transparency and traceability

Recent Videos

Raw Intelligence: WCTS
05/22/2019
In this second installment of EIA’s Raw Intelligence series, we introduce you to the company Wan Chuan Timber Sarl (WCTS) – perhaps the worst offender of crimes committed against the forests and the people of Gabon.
Intelligence Brute: WCTS
05/22/2019
Dans ce deuxième volet de la série Intelligence Brute d’EIA, nous vous présentons la société Wan Chuan Timber Sarl (WCTS), très probablement l’un des pires responsables de crimes commis contre les forêts du Gabon et les personnes qui en dépendent.
Tell Yahoo! Japan to Stop Ivory Sales!
Yahoo! Japan is the largest internet seller of ivory in the world. Lend your voice and tell Yahoo! Japan to cease all ivory sales to protect elephants!
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!