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The Guardian : Doi ani de investigatii leaga firma austriaca Holzindustrie Schweighofer de distrugerea ultimelor paduri virgine din Europa - padurile virgine in Romania (engleza)
Nota Redactiei: Fluierul va traduce in romana acest articol care aduce acuzatii devastatoare firmei austriece Holzindustrie Schweighofer - firma austriaca care a distrus ultima padure virgina a Europei - cea din Romania.
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CEREM NATIONALIZAREA TUTUROR RESURSELOR NATURALE ALE ROMANIEI ! - Initiativa Legislativa care are nevoie de 500.000 de semnaturi - Semneaza si tu !
Ther Guardian - Major Austrian timber firm accused of illegal logging in Romania
Major Austrian timber firm accused of illegal logging in Romania Two-year investigation links Holzindustrie Schweighofer to destruction of Europe’s last remaining virgin forests in Romania.Two-year investigation links Holzindustrie Schweighofer to destruction of Europe’s last remaining virgin forests in Romania
Romania contains Europe’s remaining virgin forest, home to bison, lynx and bears. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images Adam Vaughan 777
A major Austrian timber company that supplies DIY stores across Europe has been accused of destroying Europe’s last remaining virgin forests in Romania by sourcing illegally logged timber.
A two-year investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency US (EIA), an NGO, says it recorded officials from Holzindustrie Schweighofer offering to buy illegal timber from investigators posing as buyers and filmed unmarked logs dumped at the company’s depots in apparent violation of Romanian law.
Schweighofer is Romania’s biggest producer of softwood, processing around 40% of the country’s annual production. Romania’s vast and largely intact forests, which are home to bison, lynx and bears, have lost 280,000 hectares of forest during the last decade, according to satellite analyses, much of it to illegal logging.
The EIA estimated that around half of all logging in Romania is illegal, based on government reports and local NGOs, and said that in the majority of illegal logging cases it uncovered, the wood ended up in Schweighofer’s supply chain.
Schweighofer told the Guardian its officials had never said they accepted illegal wood and denied unmarked logs had entered its collection points or sawmills. The company has said it is committed to sustainably harvesting forests for timber, and that its forests are certified by the independent Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Enforcement of Forest Certification.
In several undercover meetings, email and phone conversations with the company’s officials, EIA investigators posed as foreign investors who would be willing to “overcut” – a form of illegal logging where more trees are cut than a permit allows – and asked if the company would buy such wood. They say that more than one Schweighofer manager said yes on different occasions. The meetings were recorded on audio and video.
Romanian tax records obtained by the NGO reveal that Schweighofer sourced from at least 1,000 different suppliers in 2014, which the EIA said was such a high number that “extreme efforts” would be required to exclude illegally sourced timber. The company has three sawmills and two factories in Romania.
Investigators filmed piles of unmarked logs in northern Romania on a truck they had followed from a forest to which the claim is still being contested after it was restituted following the end of communist rule. The truck was seen going a train depot with a large sign at the entrance that said it was owned by Schweighofer, where the logs were seen loaded onto a train.
Markings are the only way to tell if a log is from a legal source, the EIA said, and Romanian regulations require them on logs more than 20cm in diameter.
“Just as the world is shutting the door on illegal timber trade, one of the worst and most powerful actors is operating directly within the heart of Europe,” said Alexander von Bismark, executive director of EIA US.
“It’s devastating for Europe’s last virgin forest and the communities that depend on them, but also for legitimate foresters throughout Europe.”
The Romanian government raided Schweighofer’s sawmill in Sebeș earlier this year and has already publicly said it found accounting irregularities in the recording of timber quantities and sourcing, and that it suspected timber there was from illegal sources.
The report produced by officials following the raid, which has not been published yet but has been seen by the Guardian, concludes that: “We believe ... that these wood materials, having a total volume of 1,455.1 m3, recorded as inputs of HSR Sebes [Schweighofer’s sawmill], are not based on legal documents of origin.”
The result, the government report said, was “a fictive origin which, on the downstream trade flow can lead to the creation of environments conducive to committing criminal and/or civil acts”.
The company’s customers include DIY stores and wood pellet companies across Europe, in Romania, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic and France.
Among the companies are Italian energy giant Enel’s Romanian subsidiary, which the EIA said spent €9.9m with Schweighofer in 2014, and Spar Austria, the supermarket, which reportedly spent €3.3m that year.
Bricostore Romania, a chain of DIY stores owned by the UK-based Kingfisher, which owns B&Q and has trumpeted its environmental credentials, spent €2.5m with Schweighofer, according to the EIA.
Enel said it had bought green certificates from Schweighofer for a biomass plant, but had not bought any wood from the company.
A spokesperson from Brico Dépôt Romania said: “Brico Depot Romania is committed to responsibly sourced timber. Some timber from the company in question is sold in Brico Dépôt Romania’s stores and we are therefore very concerned about the issues raised. We are actively working with our suppliers here to ensure they adhere to our policy on responsibly sourced timber.
We took action in February to suspend deliveries from the supplier following previous claims, and will be further investigating these allegations with them directly.”
A spokeswoman for Spar said: “We confronted Schweighofer with the problem and we have a written contract that they deliver us only legal wood. To ensure, we have the wood be tested by an quality assurance agency, which guarantees us that the wood we sell is certified with the FSC certificate. This is an international standard which we believe to trust.”
Responding to the EIA allegations, a Schweighofer spokeswoman said its officials’ comments had been taken out of context.
“Never, in any business discussion, HS [Holzindustrie Schweighofer] representatives said ‘we accept illegal wood’. Their statements were taken out of context, to leave the impression that they were flexible, but what they really said was that they accepted a higher volume. This is business as usual and it complies with all existing regulations.
“The first and foremost condition requested by HS from all its suppliers is the legal origin of the wood and the proper documents which prove this. If a supplier fails to respect this condition, the purchase is cancelled.”
The spokeswoman rejected the claim the company was sourcing unmarked logs: “There is no log coming into the sawmills or the collecting points without documents or without the proper marking/stamp,” she said.
sursa: The Guardian
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