In March 2023, the ICIJ and 39 media partners published Deforestation Inc., a global investigation that exposed flaws in environmental auditing and certification programs intended to promote responsible forestry and combat illegal logging and deforestation. For this month’s episode of the Meet the Investigators podcast, we recorded a special live panel featuring reporters who had visited ravaged forests, tracked shipments of timber around the world, and trawled through corporate documents, leaked files and more to uncover the many ways in which a system designed to protect the environment, consumers and investors is failing with concerning frequency.
The situation in Myanmar, Romania, Indonesia, Germany is featured, as well as with the extent and nature of problems with falsified documents and certification systems more broadly.
An investigation by German publication Der Spiegel shows that Romania’s forests, some of the oldest in Europe, are threatened by large-scale illegal deforestation. The journalists explain in the investigation how several Austrian companies with tens of thousands of employees have made profits by contracting Romanian suppliers who illegally cut down trees.
The forests that the German journalists write about are located in Moldova, in the county of Suceava. The report was based on a previous large-scale investigation by Romanian authorities in the town of Bogdănești, which involved approximately 1,800 Romanian investigators. Among the crimes investigated by local authorities were illegal deforestation, money laundering, and tax evasion.
Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.
Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.