Operating in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a difficult task for logging companies, Mr White said.

He was commenting on Greenpeace‘s Carving up the Congo report, released this week, which has claimed that corruption is rife throughout the DRC’s logging sector.

The report says timber from the Congo rainforest is being exported to the UK, while floors and doors made from rainforest species by European manufacturers are also being sold here.

Greenpeace has also claimed that more than 100 logging contracts covering 15 million ha of rainforest have been issued since a moratorium was put in place in the DRC in 2002.

However, Mr White said logging firms operating out of countries such as the DRC should be applauded as they help generate economic activity.

“There will be bad companies and there will be illegal logging in countries with bad governance,” said Mr White.

“But sustainable logging can provide economic sustainability and good companies understand sustainable forest management.”

Mr White added that local negotiations, one of the main issues highlighted by the Greenpeace report, do take place in the DRC but that deals for logging concessions are not part of this as they are controlled at a national level.

In addition, Mr White added that anecdotal evidence suggests that the populations of countries such as the DRC welcome European logging firms as they pay regular wages and taxes.