Are you sitting on stolen goods? According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an " international campaigning organization committed to investigating and exposing environmental crime," it might be. They say that our home improvements may be contributing to deforestation and climate change, as so much of the tropical wood we use for furniture and decking is illegally harvested. The EU imports around £2bn worth of illegally sourced wood each year, and the UK is Europe's largest importer of illegal wood with stolen timber worth around £700m annually imported into the country.
The EIA urges consumers next time they buy wood to ask its name. Ones to stay clear of include Ramin, a light-coloured wood illegally logged in Indonesia used in Venetian blinds, picture frames, pool cues and tool handles; Merbau, a reddish mahogany wood found in a lot of outdoor decking; Bengkirai (Balau), a yellow-coloured wood used in garden furniture; and Meranti (Lauan), a dark reddish wood from Indonesia used in plywood, doors and window frames.The only way consumers can guarantee they are buying sustainable wood is to buy products certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council.
"It's a bit of a minefield - consumers will have to do a bit of work to ensure they are not contributing to the destruction of rainforests," said an EIA spokesman. "That's why we are calling for legislation to ban sales of illegally logged timber." ::The Guardian