BRUSSELS, BELGIUM Greenpeace activists build an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) plywood blockade outside the EU social and general HQ, Brussels.
About 50 activists, from across Europe, cordoned off the area
around the buildings with colourful 'forest crime scene' tape,
while climbers rappelled off the buildings and redecorated with a
banner saying 'EU: Stop Illegal Timber'.
Activists also boarded up the building with plywood
(environmentally sustainable this time) in an effort to halt
construction while the forest crime scene is further investigated,
and in true 'Changing Rooms' style spruced up meeting rooms by
removing suspect timber from the floorboards.
Our self-made refurbishers then rather helpfully delivered a
load of environmentally friendly wood to the EU building to show
contractors what they should be using.
"Indonesia's rainforests should be home to orang-utans and
tigers, not EU bureaucrats in plush offices and chambers," said
Gavin Edwards of Greenpeace International. "Not only does the EU
allow the import of illegal wood into Europe, it is fuelling the
trade in illegal and destructive timber through its own building
Edwards added that if Greenpeace could source environmentally
friendly timber to board up the buildings, then surely the EU could
find some for their renovations.
Nearly 90 percent of the logging in Indonesia is estimated to be
illegal, which means that logging is happening in national parks
and protected areas, and conflicts with local communities are
widespread. Forest products in the EU Economic and Social Committee
(ECOSOC) building include wood from RSK, IKMM and Mujur, all of
whom trade timber from the last rainforests of Kalimantan and
Sumatra, and AFR, a company shown to obtain timber from a protected
"The Commission attaches great [importance] to the requirement to ensure that timber is provided from environmentally sustainable sources, and now has in place arrangements to ensure that this requirement is respected" - Neil Kinnock, Vice President of the EU Commission
After years of discussion, the EU adopted an action plan in 2003
to tackle the trade in illegal timber. However, rather than
prioritising new legislation to outlaw such imports, its approach
focuses primarily on pretty toothless voluntary agreements.
"If the EU really wants to end forest destruction and poverty in
vulnerable regions, it means closing the European market to all
illegal wood products and taking tough measures that will allow
authorities to prosecute companies and individuals involved," said
Greenpeace EU policy adviser, Sebastien Risso.
Ready for some of your own DIY?
the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström, to
clean up the EU's act on illegal timber.
Find out more about illegal logging.