London West, UK - A £10m UK furniture company has become the first to be fined £5,000 plus costs for importing illegally logged teak furniture made in India in breach of EU timber regulations introduced in 2013.
According to the Independent newspaper, on 25th October at Westminster Magistrates Court, Angora 2011 Limited, trading as Lombok, was convicted and fined £5000 plus costs after pleading guilty at the first hearing.
The company failed to exercise the required due diligence when placing an artisan sideboard on the market, imported on 1st June 2016 from India.
A previous breach of the relevant regulations had earlier been identified and led to a Notice of Remedial Action being served on Lombok on 28th April 2015. This was followed by a warning letter dated 7th October 2015, when the company failed to comply with the notice.
On 20th October 2016, officers visited Lombok’s central London showroom and found the required due diligence checks had not been made for an artisan sideboard for sale that had been imported from India.
Lombok sells new and reclaimed wood furniture.
On its website, Lombok states that the teak it uses has been sourced through recognised Indonesian timber brokers who buy timber recovered from old benches, floorboards, panels and beams. Because of a rapid population increase and economic growth in Indonesia, substantial building work has been carried out across the country and the old-style Javanese wooden buildings have been modernised. There is now a seasoned supply of reclaimed teak, which is perfect for furniture production and is durable in a UK climate.
It also states that wherever possible this old teak, locally known as ‘dinglik’, is used. However, some of our component and internal construction parts of our reclaimed teak furniture use newer kiln-dried teak, which is harvested from government managed plantations and is certified by the Forestry Department as ‘approved cut timber’. We use this to strengthen our furniture and ensure longevity.
Lombok supports the Trees for Trees non-profit organisation in Indonesia which was set up to look after the forests of Indonesia specialising in the education of local communities in order to protect the environment for the future.
In news from Denmark, the Environmental Investigation Agency gave evidence which resulted in all domestic companies directly importing teak from Myanmar being given preventative injunctions.
The EIA's Peter Cooper said, "Denmark's leadership in EUTR enforcement underpins similar rulings made in Sweden and leaves no doubt that anyone placing Burmese teak on the EU market is in breach of European law.
"We now expect authorities in Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the UK to resolve 12 more cases."
Investigators have also exposed 'massive timber theft' by Vietnam from Cambodia as corrupt officials in both countries pocketed millions in bribes from smugglers involving hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of logs stolen from Cambodian national parks. The EIA also exposed Vietnam's theft of timber from Laos in 2014 which resulted in the country's new prime minister imposing a logging export ban in 2015.
EIA also states that Siamese rosewood, which was given international protection in 2013, has seen been beset by crime, fake permits, and the killing of illegals loggers and forest rangers. Risks also exist with Burmese rosewood and the trade in lookalike species not yet protected are rapidly increasing.
[Image: Logs illegally cut in O’Tabok Community Protected Area, within Virachey National Park in Cambodia’s Ratanakiri province, await transportation to Vietnam, February 2017. Credit <a href="http://www.eia-international.org">EIA</a>
Story Type: News