Despite its “zero tolerance” policy, Rabobank provided at least 750 loans to farmers in Brazil who have been classified as illegal deforesters by the national environmental authority, Financieele Dagblad reports based on extensive data research done in collaboration with the NGO Reporter Brasil. The farmers funded by Rabobank were punished by environmental authority Ibama for deforesting a total of 84,000 hectares – the same as the area of all industrial estates in the Netherlands, FD reports.
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.
According to this blog from the Environmental Investigative Agency (EIA), details of the convictions of one company and two individuals at the District Court of Amsterdam on 12 December 2022 have only recently been released in public court documents, with their names redacted, which confirm criminal convictions for importing teak from Myanmar into the Netherlands via the Czech Republic in breach of the EU Timber Regulation () Article 4 and 6 due diligence provisions.
In 2018, the NVWA issued a warning to one of the Dutch companies involved which had been importing Myanmar teak into the Netherlands. The NVWA determined that, as the economic operator, its due diligence system for its imports of Myanmar teak failed to meet the due diligence obligations of the EUTR.
In response, according to an investigation carried out by the Dutch Prosecution service, the now-convicted directors set up a company, Fairwind Trading sro, in the Czech Republic and then transferred orders of Myanmar teak to this entity to avoid the detection of NVWA – while implemented the rejected due diligence system.
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.