Skip to comments.Big flooring firms selling illegal Papua timber, report says
Posted on 04/05/2006 7:43:07 AM PDT by xcamel
The massive illegal logging of Papuan merbau timber is being fueled by five giant international flooring companies, which are neglecting to check whether they have bought legal timber, a new report says.
The investigative study by the Bogor-based Telapak and London-based Environment Investigation Agency reveals that five companies, which dominate global sales of wood floor products, are heavy consumers of illegally sourced timber, mostly from Papua.
Behind The Veneer: How Indonesia's Last Rainforests are being Felled for Flooring, which was published Tuesday, identifies the five as U.S.-based Armstrong/Bruce, Danish company Junckers, Germany's Tarkett, the Swedish Kahrs and Canada's Goodfellow.
These brand-name flooring firms were unable to prove their merbau wood came from legal sources, the report says.
Merbau floor products supplied by the companies are sold across Europe and North America, including in the famous Home Depot and Lowe's home-improvement chain stores in Europe and North America.
"Merbau can only be found in large amounts in Papua's pristine forests. It is obvious these companies have used timber coming from the province that is mostly illegally cut," Telapak coordinator Arbi Valentinus told The Jakarta Post.
Last year, Telapak exposed the world's biggest timber racket, a US$900 million dollar a year trade involving massive illegal logging and smuggling of 300,000 cubic meters of merbau timber every month from Papua to China and India. The trade involves high-ranking Indonesian security officials and international financial backers.
Merbau is one of the most valuable timber species in Southeast Asia, costing between US$200 and $270 a cubic meter on the global market.
The latest report, which was based on an investigation conducted from 2005 until February 2006 in Europe and North America, said two of the companies were supplied from a Malaysian firm, which allegedly backed illegal logging in Indonesia.
"Meanwhile, the Indonesian supplier of one of the major flooring companies admits to paying bribes to obtain seized illegal merbau logs," the report says.
Arbi said the findings contradicted environmental assurances given by the companies to their customers.
"We urge these companies to cease manufacturing, distributing or selling illegally sourced merbau," he said.
Despite a government crackdown on illegal logging last year, Papua remains now one of the worst-logged areas in the country, contributing to Indonesia's estimated deforestation rate of up to 2.8 million hectares annually, and depleting a resource worth an estimated Rp 30 trillion to the country.
European Commission Forestry Project officer Thibaut Portevin said no laws existed to punish the companies for buying questionable or uncertified timber.
"We acknowledge that such practices exist and that the commission is negotiating a voluntary partnership agreement with wood-producing countries and companies to ensure the legality of the timber trade," he said.
I say give them amnesty. Illegal is so passe' these days. Maybe it should be "undocumented Papua timber"
So who's doing the illegal loggging?? Seems like a key piece of the article, yet it's nowhere to be found.
I agree, these trees are only doing the task that Amercian trees wont't do..
No more wood floors for me anyway. It's bamboo floors from now on.
Time to take down 'Big Floor'!
One of those would be my choice.
More like doing the task that idiot bureaucrats and their greenie handlers won't allow American trees to do.
They would rather see the lumber rot in the forests.
Let's just trade AK-47's for the timber... makes it a whole lot more interesting...
News from PNG Ping.
Good, I shall ensure that I buy more from these companies that have the testicular fortitude to stand up to the EnviroNazis. If the treehumpers give me any lip I'll mop my hardwood floor with their hippy-ass hair.
and their hippy ass-hair too, I betcha.
Yeah, but I didn't want to get banned : )
Man, that one got a full-out belly laugh from me. Thanks!