Is the Wood in Your Product Line of Legal Origin?

Lead Author: Dr. Jim Bowyer

Publish date: 05.23.2007


What is Your Responsibility to Make Sure That It Is?


If you have in your product line wood that comes from anywhere in the tropics, the Russian Federation, or China, chances are good that a significant portion of that wood is of illegal origin. The fact you may be buying illegal wood matters. Illegality is directly linked to a number of problems, including corruption, financing of regional conflicts, forest loss and degradation, and the loss of billions in revenue to developing nations and to the domestic forest products industry. In short, buying illegal wood is the antithesis of supporting sustainable forestry.


Given that serious problems are known to exist that are rooted in the international trade of illegally harvested timber, and that the portion of wood in international trade that is of illegal or suspicious origin is non-trivial, every forest sector company should seriously consider the origin of the wood coming into its manufacturing facilities or distribution centers. Is the origin known? Is the wood verifiably legal? If the answers to these questions are not known, or if the answers indicate or suggest problems, it is time to act, if for no other reason than that it is the responsible thing to do.