A Greenpeace Africa investigation into illegal logging operations in Cameroon has uncovered a trail of stolen timber leading to Cameroon’s main log exporter Compagnie de Commerce et de Transport (CCT), and has reportedly prompted a government audit into the activities of CCT and its suppliers.
The evidence presented in the briefing, La Socamba: How Cameroon’s Stolen Wood Reaches International Markets, demonstrates how CCT, which supplies timber companies worldwide, including in China and Europe, sources timber from La Socamba, a company engaged in illegal and destructive practices, including logging several kilometers outside their legal logging title. This new case complements evidence already presented by Greenpeace in its reports on CCT suppliers.
“Greenpeace Africa takes note of the audit of CCT’s practices – but stresses that this process should be independent and transparent, and that CCT suppliers are properly sanctioned when illegal activities are confirmed,” said Eric Ini, Greenpeace Africa forest campaigner.
Illegal logging costs Africa $17 billion a year, according to the Africa Progress Panel. It also destroys African forests which nearly 80 percent of the world’s known terrestrial plant and animal species rely on to survive.
In Cameroon, the logging industry accounts for about 20 percent of total export revenues and provides direct employment of about 33 000 jobs. However, the central African country loses a lot to illegal practices.
“If Cameroon is serious about ending the illegal timber trade, it must work closely with the EU towards credible implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement and, as a first priority, to re-establish a system of credible Independent Monitoring of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in Cameroon,” concluded Ini.
Next to Belgium and the Netherlands, the UK government also regards timber from Cameroon as “high risk” and has recently investigated UK operators trading in Cameroon timber. These actions from the UK government and the sanction from the Dutch Authorities are positive first steps.
Greenpeace urged all EU countries to treat timber from Cameroon as high risk, and to also require stringent due diligence standards from importing companies until the government of Cameroon can prove beyond reasonable doubts that it is properly enforcing the country’s forestry laws and regulations.