Greenpeace and the Indonesia Human Rights Committee today
released the 'Guide to Forest Friendly Outdoor Furniture Retailers'
(1) which shows that the majority of outdoor timber furniture sold
in New Zealand is contributing to the destruction of tropical
forests in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
The Guide ranks 19 leading outdoor furniture retailers in New
Zealand on their policies and practice on eliminating the sale of
timber products that are from illegal and destructive sources. The
top four retailers on the scorecard are The Warehouse (1st),
Briscoes (2nd), Bunnings (3rd) and Mitre 10 (4th). Mr Kwila (18th)
and Design Warehouse in Auckland (19th) were at the bottom of the
"Currently New Zealand timber retailers are a law unto
themselves, there are no government regulations in place to stop
illegal and destructive rainforest timber from entering the market
place," said Grant Rosoman, Greenpeace Forests Campaigner.
"The companies that are acting to protect the world's remaining
forests are doing so voluntary and get a big thumbs up from
Greenpeace, but government laws must be developed to force the lazy
companies to stop importing destructively logged timber."
The worst wood on the market which is used extensively for both
outdoor furniture and decking is the tropical timber kwila, (also
known as Merbau), virtually all kwila on the market is from illegal
sources in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. (2)
Last year Greenpeace released a report on the status of kwila
called 'Merbau's last Stand', which forecasts that kwila will be
extinct in the wild within 35 years if current logging trends
"Do kiwis realize that the timber furniture they're buying could
be pushing tropical forests, indigenous communities, the climate
and unique animals like orangutans to the brink of extinction? Say
no to kwila when you next go shopping for outdoor furniture or
timber, there are alternatives; ask for 'Good Wood' products made
from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or verified legal wood, and
buy NZ made if possible, " Said Rosoman.
Greenpeace estimates that approximately NZ$20 million of kwila
sawn timber, decking and outdoor furniture is imported into New
Zealand every year. According to the Ministry of Forestry
statistics the imports of wooden furniture have increased four fold
in recent years to a value of over $150 million annually. The
Minister of Forestry, Jim Anderton also stated that illegally
produced wood depresses world log prices by 19 per cent (Press
Release, 10th December 2006).
"We are particularly concerned about kwila being sourced out of
Indonesia where it nearly all comes from the remote Papua
provinces. Logging there is often connected to serious human rights
abuses." said Maire Leadbeater of Indonesia Human Rights Committee.
"If retailers cannot guarantee that their wood products are legal
and not destroying indigenous peoples' livelihoods in Indonesia and
PNG, then they shouldn't sell them."
Indonesia's forests are being logged faster than any other
forested nation and globally deforestation contributes
approximately 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is
through this deforestation that Indonesia and Brazil are 3rd and
4th respectively as the world's biggest greenhouse gas
For the first time countries agreed at the last round of climate
negotiations in Bali in December 2007 to bring deforestation into
the global climate treaty. They will embark on a process over the
next two years to do this.
Notes to Editor
(1) Download a copy of the 'Guide to Forest Friendly Outdoor
Furniture Retailers here
(2) The World Bank found that between 70 - 80 per cent of timber
products leaving Indonesia and PNG are logged illegally. World
Bank, August 2006. Strengthening Law Enforcement and Governance.
Report No. 36638-GLB
Merbau's Last Stand: How Industrial Logging is Driving the
Destruction of the Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific.' (including
maps) Published by Greenpeace International, April 2007.
Other contacts: Maire Leadbeater, Indonesian Human Rights Committee, 0274 436 957
Grant Rosoman, Greenpeace Forests Campaigner, 03 382 5476 or 021 428 415