New Report Names U.S. Companies that Trade with Criminal Operations in Brazilian Amazon

 

Media release - February 19, 2004
Several U.S. companies help to fuel violence and rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon by buying and/or distributing wood from Grupo Madenorte, a logging company that engages in corrupt practices in Brazil's conflict-torn Pará state. Greenpeace is asking these companies and the U.S. Government to stop imports from corrupt loggers.

WASHINGTON - Several U.S. companies help to fuel violence and rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon by buying and/or distributing wood from Grupo Madenorte, a logging company that engages in corrupt practices in Brazil's conflict-torn Par· state. As detailed in the Greenpeace report State of Conflict, Madenorte and other timber companies use fraud, intimidation, slavery, and murder to usurp land from Par· residents and decimate the rainforest. An annex to the report identifies Center, Texas-based Ihlo Sales & Import Company as the single largest importer of wood from Madenorte, and lists several other U.S. companies that either import from Madenorte directly or distribute Madenorte wood from Ihlo.

Other importers identified in the annex include Columbia Forest Products (Portland, Ore.), Dantzler (Miami Lakes, Fla.), DLH Nordisk (Greensboro, N.C.), John S. Connor, Inc. (Baltimore, Md.), McCausey Lumber (Roseville, Mich.), Robinson Lumber (New Orleans, La.), and Sabra International (Miami Beach, Fla.). Distributors that routinely purchase or have purchased Madenorte wood from Ihlo include Acadian Hardwoods & Cypress (Ponchatoula, La.), Boom, Inc. (Newtown Square, Pa.), Central Wholesale Supply Corporation (Norfolk, Va.), Diamond Hill Plywood (Darlington, S.C.), Dixie Plywood (Savannah, Ga.), and Tech Products (Miami, Fla.).

Today Greenpeace delivered copies of State of Conflict to every company named in the annex along with a letter, asking them to stop doing business with Madenorte. Greenpeace also delivered copies to the U.S. Justice Department, State Department, Commerce Department, Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Customs, and other government agencies responsible for enforcing the President's Initiative on Illegal Logging.

"By doing business with Madenorte, U.S. companies directly contribute to environmental destruction, slavery and death in the endangered Amazon rainforest," said Scott Paul, Coordinator of Greenpeace's Forest Campaign. "The U.S. is the largest importer of forest products worldwide and too many U.S. companies don't bother to look into the practices of the companies from which they buy. With this report, the federal government and companies such as Ihlo can no longer plead ignorance to the criminal activity of Madenorte."

The Greenpeace report also shows that Ihlo imports wood from Indonesia, where more than 80 percent of logging is illegal. The U.S. release of State of Conflict comes as world leaders and scientists are meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The conference is a key step in protecting the world's forests, including the Amazon and the rainforests of Southeast Asia. The United States is still not a signatory to the CBD.

Pressuring Madenorte's U.S. customers is the latest step in a larger movement to bring justice and stability to the Brazilian Amazon. Ironically, Greenpeace has been indicted in Miami by the U.S. government for a protest that took place in April 2002 against a ship carrying illegal mahogany from Brazil. Undeterred by this unprecedented prosecution, which has been widely condemned by numerous leaders and organizations, Greenpeace continues to campaign globally to protect the world's forests and to expose those who are part of their destruction.