This timber must seized, not sold

Illegal Amazon Timber Protest off Rotterdam. 11/06/2014 © Bas Beentjes / Greenpeace

Today, in waters outside of a Rotterdam port, activists continued tracking illegally sourced timber arriving from the Brazilian Amazon. They confronted a French flagged ship coming from a sawmill dealing illegal timber destined for European markets. Carrying banners that read, “Amazon Forest Crime” they followed the ship as it entered the port to unload its cargo.

Our investigations show the ship is carrying containers with wood known as Ipe, to be unloaded and transported later to Belgium. They are headed for the timber trading companies “Lemahieu” and “Omniplex”. This timber is sold to them by another company in Belgium, “Leary Forest Products”, on behalf of Brazilian sawmill and exporter “Rainbow Trading”.

Rainbow Trading is the same sawmill we exposed just a few weeks ago for trading in illegally logged timber in the Amazon. Our research shows this is the third time in the past month that Rainbow Trading’s timber is coming to Europe.

Buying from companies like Rainbow Trading is risky business and could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of Amazon destruction reaching foreign shores. In fact, it is possible there is more timber from Rainbow Trading onboard this ship which will enter the market in other countries. The containers offloaded today will be transported to Belgium. The ship, will continue on to the UK next and could be bringing more Amazon destruction there with it.

When we found out companies in Europe were buying timber from Rainbow Trading, we contacted them to make sure they knew what they were getting into by doing business with forest criminals. We explained they were risking buying illegal timber – regardless of the pile of official documentation and paperwork that comes with Amazon timber.

You see, unfortunately the official documentation used by loggers in the Brazilian Amazon is not worth the paper it is written on. These documents might be official but they are being used to launder illegal timber.

Global companies are already choosing not to buy timber linked to Amazon destruction. Sitho in The Netherlands and Interwood in Sweden have already confirmed they will no longer source from Rainbow Trading.

Companies are required by law to keep risky timber out of the EU market. Doing that while bringing timber from sawmills like Rainbow Trading into Europe seems impossible. This timber must be seized, not sold. Unfortunately, the Dutch authorities failed to stop this timber today and the containers carrying timber from the Amazon will continue on to Belgium.

We will not stand by and let this continue to be ignored by authorities so we are asking for your help. Over the last few days, over 70,000 of you have signed a petition calling on authorities to seize this shipment. Join the call for this Amazon destruction to be stopped before it enters the European market.

All of us must act against forest criminals who profit from the destruction of Amazon and authorities shirk their responsibilities. Companies must be in full control of their supply chains and authorities must ensure this is happening.

Tell the European authorities to seize this shipment.

Daniela Montalto is a Senior Campaigner, Amazon at Greenpeace International.

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