Has HS Timber Achieved Full Traceability?
HS Timber, formerly Holzindustrie Schweighofer, is an Austrian company that is the largest timber processor in Romania. Following a year-long investigation into widespread allegations of illegal timber purchasing, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) disassociated itself from HS Timber in 2017. The first requirement the FSC set for HS Timber’s reassociation was for the company to have full traceability from stump to mill for all of the logs they purchase in Romania.
EIA’s new video documents our detailed analysis of data from Romania’s national transparent timber traceability system, Forest Inspector, in which we map out HS Timber’s direct supplier log depots - and their extensive network of sub-suppliers.
EIA found that in the month of March 2021, HS Timber sourced around 50% of its Romanian logs directly from the forest from around 500 separate forest sites. The other 50% came from around 200 third-party log depots. HS Timber’s supplier depots, and their sub-suppliers, sourced wood from over 2,500 individual forest sites - five times more than the 500 forest sites that HS Timber sourced from directly that month.
Most, if not all, of HS Timber’s supplier depots lack physical traceability for the logs they buy and sell. Romania’s government estimates that close to 50% of the logging in Romania is illegal. This means HS Timber cannot ensure the actual and legal forest origin for half of all the logs it purchases in Romania.
The FSC’s Board of Directors now faces a choice - whether HS Timber deserves to regain the FSC logo. Despite years of international attention and pressure, HS Timber has failed to enact real traceability over its extensive network of suppliers. The FSC needs to stand up for its values, or risk diluting the value of its brand.