Greenpeace finds illegal DRC wood in Danzer Group’s Czech Republic veneer facility

Press release - July 2, 2013
Johannesburg 02 July 2013: An illegal shipment of endangered wood from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been found at a processing factory in the European Union, run by the controversial Swiss timber group Danzer.

Following international investigations by Greenpeace, the illegal load of endangered Wengé wood is suspected to be from the Bakri Bois Corporation’s (BBC) concession in the DRC’s Equateur province. The wood was held in Antwerp port for almost two months. Greenpeace detected the BBC wood last week in the western Czech Republic.

The timber has the markings of the BBC’s concession in Equateur province using an industrial permit, deemed illegal by the country’s EU-financed independent forest observer Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM), whose reports are approved by the DRC government.

In a research visit to the former BBC concession in Equateur province last month, Greenpeace Africa found that the company had allegedly violated social contracts according to witnesses.

"This case highlights the urgent need for the DRC government to improve and enforce the legislation in order to protect the forests, regulate the timber trade in the country and protect the rights of local communities," says Raoul Monsembula, Country Coordinator DRC, Greenpeace Africa.

During an action at the veneer factory, Greenpeace called upon the Czech authorities to seize the timber and start investigations into the practices of Danzer.

 “If any governments in the EU turn a blind eye to illegal imports, forest destruction in areas including the Congo Basin will continue to be driven by our use of wood and associated products” says Danielle Van Oijen, Forests Campaigner, Greenpeace Netherlands. “These forests are vital to help regulate our planet’s climate and to preserve biodiversity and the livelihoods of millions of people.”

The Danzer Group was recently disassociated from the certification system the Forest Stewardship Council for involvement in human rights violations in DRC following a complaint from Greenpeace.

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For media enquiries contact:

Raoul MONSEMBULA, Country Coordintor, DRC, Greenpeace Africa : +243 9990 10900,

Najia BOUNAIM, Communications Manager, Greenpeace Africa : +27 799 304 743,

Pictures of the action are available here.