Deutsche Welle film focuses on the illegal timber trade which is worth billions. High returns and low rates of prosecution attract organized crime. In the past year alone, 120 million tons of timber in Europe had no official certificate of origin.
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.
Deforestation Inc. reporters in a dozen countries investigated weak government efforts and loopholes allowing companies to keep trading Myanmar teak, a natural resource controlled by the military junta.
The Deforestation Inc. investigation by ICIJ and its 39 partners found that timber traders in three continents have continued to import Myanmar teak by the ton to supply shipbuilders and furniture manufacturers around the world, while consumers may be unwittingly financing the junta’s repressive campaign.
The reporters visited boat shows in Fort Lauderdale, Amsterdam and Paris to learn about the international teak market. They interviewed timber traders in 11 countries and pored over documents leaked from Myanmar’s tax agency and shared with ICIJ by Justice for Myanmar, a human rights group, U.K.-based news outlet Finance Uncovered and Distributed Denial of Secrets, a data transparency group.
Cases from Slovenia, Croatia, USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Turkey, Taiwan, France, and India are included.
Germany has pledged tens of millions of dollars to help Brazil defend the Amazon rainforest, a critical global ecosystem that experienced years of devastation under former far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
During a news conference in Brasilia on Monday, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze announced that Berlin would make $38m available for the Amazon Fund, an international mechanism largely funded by Norway that aims to prevent deforestation.
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.