Greenpeace investigates DLH's Dutch timber operations

Press release - 6 November, 2003
Greenpeace carried out an onsite investigation today into illegal loggers trading with the Danish timber trader DLH (Dalhoff, Larsen en Horneman), the largest trader in tropical hardwood in the world. The activists blocked the entrance of the company's facilities in Flushing, The Netherlands, which import timber from the Amazon, Africa and Southeast Asia. They then identified three sources of timber from companies involved in illegal logging for two hours, before eight activists were arrested. Greenpeace will report the findings of the investigation to the Dutch Minister of Justice.

A Greenpeace activist stands in protest at the entrance to timber importer DLH, the world's largest importer of tropical hardwood, in the Dutch town of Vlissingen.

The investigation comes as DLH launched a counterattack in the Danish media and on its website (1) to a report released by Greenpeace earlier this week into the widespread social and environmental conflicts of the timber trade in Pará State in the Brazilian Amazon (2). The company claim on their website that they "do not want to buy illegal wood" but avoided the issue of whether they will continue to buy from illegal sources or from destructive logging operations. DLH is the largest international trader of sawntimber being exported from Pará State.

"This is not the first time Greenpeace has exposed that DLH is trading timber from companies involved in illegal logging not only in the Amazon rainforest, but also in the Congo Basin," said Phil Aikman, Greenpeace International Forest Campaigner. "DLH must pay more than lip service to solve the social and environmental conflicts created by the timber industry which are at crisis level in the world's ancient forests."

Greenpeace investigations at DLH's Flushing facilities have so far shown that they are still handling timber from African loggers who have recently been fined for forest crime. DLH trades in hardwood from the Italian companyes IBC, which was fined in October 2003 for illegal exploitation, and Alpicam, which has been caught in Cameroon for making false declarations about the amount of timber it produced (3).

DLH also trades in timber from SFID, part of the French logging company Rougier, which has been caught several times in Cameroon for trading and processing illegal timber in Cameroon. SFID was fined in April this year for illegal exploitation outside the limits of the forest concession, SOCID. Four months later, in August, the company was caught for their involvement in the illegal bushmeat trade from Rougier controlled concession, Lorema (4).

Today's investigations is part of the Greenpeace campaign to stop illegal logging in the last ancient forests of the world. The European Union is preparing an action plan to combat the trade in illegal timber. Greenpeace wants the EU to ban the import of illegal timber.

Notes: 1. The Greenpeace report State of Conflict reveals the secret face of Amazon destruction and the names of those behind it. The report exposes an alarming picture of land invasions by powerful loggers and cattle ranchers. It also documents stories of violence, murder and modern day slavery. 2. IBC: Official MINEF newsletter, October 2003, p. 28; Alpicam: Official MINEF newsletter, October 2003, p. 30