SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Roseburg Forest Products has denied allegations that it was complicit in using illegally imported okoumé hardwood from the rainforests of Western and Central Africa.
A federal investigation prompted Roseburg to stop using the okoumé in its wood siding product line, which it purchased from importers Cornerstone Forest Products and Evergreen Hardwoods. Roseburg said it was unaware that the okoumé was imported illegally.
The company was contacted on March 11 by an agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is fully cooperating with the investigation. That investigation, undertaken by the NGO Environmental Investigation Agency, has now produced undercover footage and an 84-page report that implies Roseburg knew about Cornerstone's and Evergreen's alleged schemes.
Roseburg's corporate communications director Rebecca Taylor said the company rejects the implication. Taylor says Roseburg has a compliance program in place to mitigate the risk of noncompliance with the Lacey Act. And as a part of its normal practice, it used a third-party expert, DoubleHelix Tracking Technologies, to conduct supply chain audits last summer.
“DoubleHelix conducted supply chain risk assessments and compliance audits of both Cornerstone and Evergreen. These audits were conducted as a proactive step initiated by Roseburg, not due to any concerns or complaints regarding the two companies’ services,” according to the company’s statement.
“As part of the audits, DoubleHelix conducted full, boots-on-the-ground, onsite supply chain audits of Okoume veneer sourced from the Republic of Congo (onsite Aug. 14, 2018) and Gabon (onsite July 30, 2018). The audits investigated country, species, supply chain, market and other external factors. The results of both audits were favorable, with no findings of Lacey Act violations and only a few risk mitigation findings, all of which were reported resolved to Roseburg’s satisfaction.”
It appears the audits were unable to detect any illegal importing. Taylor said investigators are not investigating Roseburg at this time.
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