Brazil laundering illegal timber, says Greenpeace

16 May 2014

Greenpeace is urging Jewson to stop selling ipe decking after revealing what it says is “widespread illegal logging” in Brazil.

Following a two-year investigation, the environmental group says it found that loggers and sawmills were using fraudulently-obtained official paperwork to export timber.

Two-thirds of timber exports from the Brazilian Amazon go to Europe and the US. Greenpeace claims that Jewson is relying on the same verification system that the logging industry uses to launder illegal timber. It is also calling on the Brazilian government to stamp out illegal logging.

“Our exposé demonstrates that timber from the Brazilian Amazon sold in European and American shops cannot be trusted,” said Greenpeace Brazil spokesperson Rafael Cruz.

Greenpeace says the investigation, which focused on Pará, revealed companies acting illegally by overestimating the number of valuable species in forests, falsifying information for chain of custody documents and applying for logging permits in areas already deforested.

Jewson’s supplier, International Timber, said it fully recognised its obligation in regards to importing timber and acted strictly in accordance with the EU Timber Regulation.

“International Timber is committed to auditable and independent certification throughout our supply chain process and the priority is always to ask for chain of custody certified product wherever possible,” the company said.

“With regards to Brazilian timber we are committed to ensure the legality of our timber, and take extensive steps to gather all the necessary evidence from suppliers regarding its legality, including the collection of the validated authorisation of the landowner with the document which defines the longitude and latitude areas and volume of the area, together with the sale agreement between the landowner and logger: GF3 and DOF and PEFC or FSC if appropriate.”

The company said it worked closely with the Timber Trade Federation, its suppliers and customers to address environmental issues and was happy to work with other similar organisations to discuss any matters relating to timber procurement processes and policies.