Global Witness continues pursuit of Danish timber company

Thursday, 13 March, 2014

Global Witness have continued their dispute with Danish timber company Dalhoff, Larsen and Horneman by submitting a legal complaint to the Regional Court of Montpellier regarding DLH’s activities during Liberia’s civil war. Their complaint targets the French arm of DLH and it could lead to a public inquiry into the company if it is held up.

Global Witness alleges that during Liberia’s second civil war from 2000-2003, DLH purchased wood from uncertified illegal sources in Liberia, the proceeds of which funded Charles Taylor’s brutal crackdown on opposition rebels. He was later sentenced to 50 years imprisonment at the Hague’s International Criminal Court for several human rights abuses.

According to Global Witness, “DLH’s suppliers spent the war years illegally stripping away Liberia’s natural resource wealth, and in the process funding one of recent history’s nastiest regimes. DLH knew where the timber was coming from, and who was benefiting from the sales, and yet it carried on regardless”.

With forests worldwide being cut down at an alarming rate, the timber industry must procure its wood from FSC approved sustainable sources. Global Witness also submitted a complaint to the FSC in February, and if they are successful DLH could lose its FSC certificates, which would seriously hamper a company that is already struggling from the recession.

Supply chain credibility is a large issue in commodity circles, and initiatives such as the Kimberley Process seek to ensure ethical supply chains in the diamond industry; but many feel that not enough is being done to ensure commodities are not procured from unethical sources. Last month an Ernst and Young employee claimed much of the world’s gold had not been audited due to corrupt practices in Dubai where much of it is traded.