LONDON - EIA’s new investigative report details the extent and nature of illegal logging in the Russian Far East (RFE) and tracks illegally harvested valuable hardwoods across the border into China, through factories and warehouses, to its ultimate destination in showrooms around the world. It is then purchased by consumers unaware of the devastating effects on the environment, local peoples, and the forest industry, as well as on law enforcement and governance throughout the RFE.
EIA’s investigation revealed that since the 2008 Lacey Act amendments became law, Lumber Liquidators has imported millions of square feet of solid oak flooring from a manufacturer that freely describes its own illegal logging practices and that buys wood from suppliers that are under scrutiny by Russian authorities for illegal logging in the most threatened temperate forest in the world.
During a multi-year investigation, Lumber Liquidators, the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in the United States, emerged as the strongest example of a U.S. company whose indiscriminate sourcing practices link U.S. consumers to the destruction of critically endangered tiger habitat and forests in the RFE. While making record profits in recent years, Lumber Liquidators has turned a blind eye as its purchases have fueled rampant illegal logging in the region.
The forests of the world are facing an environmental, social and economic crisis fueled by growing demand for cheap wood and timber products in the United States, China, Japan, the European Union and elsewhere. Companies violating the law must be held to account for the devastating impact of their indiscriminate sourcing practices on the forests and people of the world. Moreover, without action by governments to enforce laws like the Lacey Act, the final consumer will unwittingly remain the source of wealth that funds the mafias who are raiding the world’s forests.