Greenpeace protests against G8 imports of illegal timber

Highlighting corporate forest crime

Press release - 20 June, 2002

Greenpeace today protested in the port of Nordenham the import of timber from ancient forests destruction.

Highlighting corporate forest crime

Greenpeace protests against G8 imports of illegal timber

Nordenham, Germany 20 June 2002. Greenpeace today continued its campaign against government inaction over corporate forest crime as one hundred activists protested in the port of Nordenham the import of timber from ancient forest destruction. Nordenham is the most important harbour in Germany for the importation of timber from Africa. Activists climbed the unloading cranes of the harbour and unfurled flags that read: G8 Save the Ancient Forests Now, while over 80 activists painted the same message on the logs stored at the facility.

Greenpeace has been highlighting corporate crime for several decades, and most recently has put the world spotlight on the plight of the forests and yet, G8 Governments continue to allow illegal timber and timber products into their countries.

"No matter how often we tell these governments that they are allowing illegal and destructive timber into their countries, their public buildings and even their own offices, they continue to let the companies responsible get away with environmental crimes," said Christoph Thies of Greenpeace." These governments must stop their own role in environmental destruction now, and must make a firm commitment to hold companies accountable for the environmental and social damage they cause."

The protest follows in the wake of the latest intergovernmental talks in the build up to the Johannesburg Earth Summit - the most critical environmental meeting in a decade. At the last preparatory meeting before the Earth Summit, in Bali, talks of 'voluntary agreements' within the public sector became increasingly common, sending waves of concern throughout the environmental and human rights communities.

"In 1998, the G8 committed to fight illegal logging and protect forests. But four years on, the G8's Action Programme on Forests has been quietly buried, while it's business as usual in the world's last ancient forests (1)," said Thies "Illegal logging is as high as 80 percent in some forest nations, deforestation rates are higher than ever - and industrial logging remains the single most important factor in driving that destruction."

Greenpeace is calling on the Heads of G8 Governments, representing some of the most powerful players on the planet, not to let their Action Programme on Forests die, but to use their influence at both the G8 Summit next week, and the Earth Summit itself, to ensure that:

* The G8 governments introduce measures to halt forest biological diversity loss by 2010 and place special emphasis on preventing the fragmentation of the last intact ancient forests

* The G8 governments commit to holding corporations accountable for their social and environmental impact and ensure that voluntary commitments are only additional to internationally agreed governmental obligations, such as the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) work programme on forest biological diversity.

* The G8 governments stop subsidising environmental destruction and implement green procurement policies

* The G8 commits to replenish the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and significantly increases financial and technical capacity to assist poorer countries in implementing the CBD programme of work on forest biological diversity.

Notes: (1) Ancient Forests are the world's remaining forests which have been shaped largely by natural events and which are little impacted by human activities. They are one of the earth's most precious natural treasures and have developed over thousands, if not millions of years. The nurture ecological and climate processes.