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An international labor rights group has accused a Malaysian environmental audit plan of turning a blind eye to issues of forced labor and safety, following the latest revelations in the Deforestation Inc investigation.

A representative of the Building and Wood Workers International group told ICIJ partner Malaysiakini that the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme was Ignoring the rights of workers Certifying wood products as sustainable.

Malaysiakini’s investigation published last month revealed that the country’s independent certification scheme – which is recognized internationally by the Program for the Support of Forest Certification – has Fail to connect with indigenous groups And that sustainability standards were not being enforced.

malaysian story mirror Worldwide Deforestation Inc. conclusions ofWhich showed that auditing firms hired as verifiers often ignored or failed to recognize obvious environmental violations by their clients.

From Indonesia to India, Germany and Chile, ICIJ and its partners found that while sourcing timber from indigenous forest logging companies, forest-products companies rely on accredited verifiers, part of a $10 billion timber industry The type of forest that is being logged or protected forests are being cut.


In Finland, politicians from the Green Party have Called for reforming the country’s forest laws and further regulate clear-cutting after ICIJ’s Finnish partner YLE meets Many forest crimes are not registered, and violations by forestry companies are rarely made public. YLE also found “gaps in the supervision of forest certificates in Finland”: court rulings go unnoticed, violations of certificate regulations are often dealt with internally by companies, and inspection results are not published.

This means that from 2019 to 2022, environmental audits may fail to cite companies that have violated the law, according to a YLE review of court rulings against forest-product companies.


In Indonesia, ICIJ media partner Tempo investigated the so-called “Wood Verification and Validity Systems.” The national certification program was implemented 10 years ago by the Indonesian government to comply with timber importer requirements imposed by the European Union. Tempo’s investigation is based partly on research by environmentalists at the independent Forest Monitoring Network, which found environmental and social violations by forest-products companies operating in Indonesia have been reported in more than 100 cases over the past decade by environmental auditors. missed or ignored. The forestry company had given false information on the type of timber for the purpose of land grabbing, price fixing and reducing the company’s tax bill. In some cases, Tempo found that a company that had lost certification because of a violation hired a different auditing firm and received a new certification without fixing the initial problem.


In Chile, LaBot correspondents found that a Japanese company charged wood suppliers with a subsequent charge by local authorities. trespassing on indigenous forest land, The Japanese timber giant’s supply chain was inspected by an environmental auditing firm without any irregularities. Still, LaBot pointed out, to date the origin of the wood is not known because the company used a mix of wood coming from both known and unknown sources in its supply chain.


Indian Express investigation revealed “Many Attempts at Greenwashing” by Indian auditing firms working for local forest-products companies. According to industry insiders interviewed, sustainability certification is easier to obtain in a country where subcontractors are frequently audited. Insiders have characterized the certification process in India as a tool to bypass regulatory requirements in Europe and the US, one of two certification schemes operating in the country that “endorses any country’s national standards.” But the investigation found that India’s environment ministry had abandoned plans to create a national forest standard, despite an expert report recommending its creation in 2000.


In Germany, journalists found that the German auditing firm TUV, one of the world’s largest The so-called “test and inspection” industryCertified as sustainable companies accused of illegal deforestation, violence and displacing indigenous communities in at least 50 instances.

in response to questions from Suddeutsche Zeitung And NDRTUV, the ICIJ’s German partner, said it no longer has a commercial relationship with about half of the companies whose operations it previously certified as sustainable because of “unresolved land conflicts”. TUV said it carries out its tests “carefully, conscientiously and independently”.

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