Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Others Accused of Selling Illegal Wood
By George Anderson
Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Target, Kmart and Macy’s are among the retailers accused by two environmental advocacy groups of stocking products made from illegal and endangered
species of wood from Honduras.
The groups, the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Center for International Policy, plan to release a report today that claims retailers are, in many cases unwittingly,
selling illegally harvested timber.
Home Depot previously pledged to improve the transparency of its wood sourcing to avoid illegal imports. About 10 percent of the company’s annual revenues comes from the sale
“Clearly the Home Depot policy has not been adequately applied to wood products sourced in Honduras,” said Allan Thornton, president of the independent Environmental Investigation
The DIY retailer’s supplier, Aljoma Lumber, disputes the findings of the research.
“There’s simply no truth to it that Home Depot is profiting from potentially illegal logging,” David Flinn, Aljoma’s chief financial officer, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We export certain products to the United States from Honduras, but it’s not sold to Home Depot.”
The problem, say those familiar with the issue, is that the Honduran government checks so few exports that it is easy to move illegal wood out of the country.
In a separate interview, Mr. Thornton told The Associated Press, “At this point, it is very difficult for the consumer to identify what they’re buying. It’s extremely
difficult for anyone to say with certainty that any wood product coming from Honduras originated from legal timber because there’s so much illegal logs and illegal timber circulating
internally into the chain of supply.”
The illegal wood trade has contributed to deforestation in the country while encouraging corruption. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Center for International
Policy, conflicts between loggers and ecologists are escalating.
Moderator’s Comment: Do the retailers identified as selling illegal wood products from Honduras (assuming it is true) throw up their hands and say they
cannot do anything about it or are there other practical ways they can address the issue?
Our first thought was that, if they cannot be sure that the wood from Honduras is legal, then perhaps they should source it from other countries. Innocent
people would certainly get hurt but perhaps it would take something as drastic as that to get the Honduran government to live up to its oversight responsibilities and get the
logging companies to play by the rules. –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Agency releases Honduras logging report – The Associated Press/The
- Illegal wood probe names Home Depot – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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