Press release | Feb. 16, 2017

A new partnership to end the devastating illegal trade in blood timber

Global Witness announces that it has entered into a new partnership with Arcadia Fund which aims to prevent the destruction of the tropical forests the planet needs to survive.

Global Witness will use its investigations to expose the corrupt, abusive practices of global logging, companies, which generate tens of billions of dollars while liquidating forests and rendering communities homeless. Interpol estimates the global trade in illegal timber to be worth between US $30 billion and US $90 billion every year.

“The global tropical timber trade has no place in the 21st century. It is riddled with corruption, trashes priceless habitats, steals land from indigenous communities and fuels human rights abuses. We cannot reverse the damage it has already done, but we can prevent it finishing off the precious forests that remain. This generous grant from Arcadia will strengthen our efforts to ensure countries enforce laws designed to protect these forests. It will also help us push to shut down the global markets that drive demand for this destructive trade,” said Rupert Quinlan, Global Witness Campaign Director.

Global Witness has shown how logging companies routinely break laws in forests critical to community cultures and livelihoods. These forests are also critical to global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change and preserve biodiversity.

“Tropical forests contain over half of all plant and animal species, and act as the planet’s lungs by absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide that would otherwise massively accelerate climate change.  We can’t survive without them,” Mr Quinlan added.

The funding from Arcadia will help increase the scope and depth of Global Witness’ investigations, increasing the likelihood of the enforcement of laws in countries that produce and consume illegal timber. The US and Europe have laws to prevent the importation of illegal timber, but they are poorly enforced. Global Witness will seek to change this by presenting evidence of wrongdoing to prosecuting authorities. In Japan and China, also key consumers of tropical wood, Global Witness will work with governments to help keep high risk timber out of their markets.

The Arcadia Fund was set up by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin to support organisations that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Under the terms of this partnership, Global Witness will receive £500,000 over three years.