Corruption in the timber industry in Eastern Europe (Why you shouldn't buy from Ikea)

Earthsight recently published a report on corruption in the European timber industry and the purchasing of illegal timber from Ukraine by Europe. The report focused on the illegal logging happening in the ecologically important and sensitive regions that support some of our continents most endangered wildlife.
Earthsight spent two years investigating how illegal logging in the region was fueling corruption throughout Eastern Europe and corruption within Ukraine itself. The EU purchased 1 billion Euros of timber in 2017 from the region which represents 70% of all the illegal timber that is harvested. Of that, 40% of the timber from the region is illegal and was harvested in ecologically sensitive areas. Ukraine is the largest single supplier of such high-risk wood to the EU, exceeding all of the tropical countries of Latin America, Africa, and SE Asia combined.

The report pointed out sadly that this was commonplace and was occurring without much protest or intervention by the EU to uphold the EUTR of 2013. They also found that most of this wood was FSC certified despite being harvested illegally. Earthsight commented that this was prevalent due to the lack of due diligence by the FSC and timber companies who were not checking where their wood comes from or performing any independent audits.
This story is similar to others across the continent where issues with illegal logging and irresponsible timber harvesting practises are prevalent.
Romania, for example, is one of the largest areas of primeval forests that are left in Europe with 200,000 hectors of vegan forests still remaining in the Carpathians. This is a very important area biologically and ecologically not just because it is one of the last strongholds of European wolf's bears and lynx but also for the important microflora and fauna in the soils of the region. Europe is subject to large areas of soil erosion and degradation due to deforestation and agricultural practises.
However, this important region is now being commercially logged with little to no opposition from the government or EU.

This story was also repeated recently in Poland who has been logging in the ancient Bialwieza forest regardless of it being deemed illegal by the EU and being a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the last remaining strongholds of European Bison.

All of this timber is then going into our furniture, paper, and packaging; Earthsight called out Homebase HP, Staples and Ikea for their part in purchasing this illegal timber.. As a customer the best thing you can do is tweet these companies and boycott them... money talks. 

Although there has been an increase in right-wing parties and nationalism in Eastern Europe, that should not jeopardize the preservation of the natural world, environmentalism should be excluded from politics. Our landscape nature and environment is part of our cultural heritage and this should be protected regardless of the political situation. 

Here in the UK we have extreme issues with deforestation which are largely ignored. We currently only have 13% forest cover resulting in high levels of air pollution soil erosion, less productive arable land and most of all issues with flooding. Supporting woodland charities here like the Woodland Trust RSPB, Trees for Cities, Grown in Britain etc. should be a priority; as well as putting pressure on the Government. 

No comments