About

Earthsight is a non-profit organisation that uses in-depth investigations to expose environmental and social crime, injustice and the links to global consumption.

We believe in the unique power of primary investigative research and reporting to bring attention to pressing issues of human rights and environmental justice. We seek to harness this power both by carrying out investigations and helping others to conduct their own.

We aim to get to the core of an issue, using a range of investigative research methods to obtain first-hand, documented evidence of crimes against both people and the planet which is irrefutable and impossible to ignore. By following the money and tracing supply chains, our research also aims to expose the complicity of consumers and financiers in abetting these abuses.

Our History

Since its foundation in 2007, Earthsight has tackled a wide range of issues, from electronic waste smuggling to conflict timber, and from sweatshops to the illegal palm oil trade. The results of Earthsight’s research, identifying abuses and tracking the associated products to their end markets, have received high-profile attention in the media and among policy-makers, and have led to changes in the policies of governments, corporations and financial institutions.

For the first ten years of its existence, Earthsight operated mainly behind the scenes. Our research lay behind many major exposés by human rights and environment organisations. It also contributed to reports carried on flagship investigative TV documentary series. Since 2016, we have come out from the shadows, choosing our own stories and publishing them in our own name.

Investigations

The global trade in timber and agri-commodities is destroying the world’s forests and leaving communities at the mercy of big business. Our deep-dive investigations expose these injustices and call out the rogue actors linked to environmental destruction.

From investigating the corrupt land deals underpinning Indonesia’s palm oil sector to exposing the illegal timber trade thriving in Ukraine, you can read all our latest investigations here.

Impacts

With just a handful of staff and tiny budget, we have had the kind of impact normally associated with organisations many times our size. Our stories have been widely reported, including in leading news outlets in key countries, such as Die Zeit and Der Spiegel in Germany, The Times, Guardian, Telegraph and Channel 4 in the UK, Le Figaro in France and the New York Times in the US. They have repeatedly made headlines in source countries, including the cover of the Indonesian version of ‘Time’ magazine. Via these outlets, they reached over 100 million people on social media in 2020 alone. Our shocking footage has featured on multiple primetime documentaries about climate change fronted by David Attenborough. Our work has won prestigious journalism awards and been praised by a Nobel peace prize winner.

Such high-profile attention has produced real, measurable change. IKEA - the world’s largest timber buyer - committed in January 2021 to dramatically expanding its use of recycled wood after a major Earthsight exposé and a subsequent petition signed by over 200,000 of its customers. A similarly large petition following an earlier Earthsight exposé also led UK supermarket Morrisons to become the first major customer to drop Brazil’s largest beef exporter as a supplier. In Ukraine, our work triggered a government crackdown on illegal timber which reduced exports by over 30 per cent and saved around a million trees. Our investigation exposing the single largest threat to the forests of Indonesia – a palm oil plantation project the size of Greater London – led to the project’s permit being cancelled. The documentary film we produced to accompany the report has been viewed over a million times. In Paraguay, Earthsight’s exposés and campaigning have forced the authorities to belatedly begin taking action against firms illegally razing forest within a protected area inhabited by an uncontacted tribe. In Russia, a firm we exposed for rampant illegal logging was subsequently fined over $5 million.

The torrent of stories we have published revealing the extent of deforestation, illegal logging and associated corruption and rights abuses to supply commodities for export to Western markets has helped force the hand of governments in the UK, US and EU. In all those jurisdictions, legislation is now under development which seeks to halt such exports. Though many other campaigning groups have played a part in driving such legislation forward, Earthsight has had a particularly prominent role. For example, when the European Parliament approved strong draft legislation in October 2020 which would ensure the bloc addresses its role in driving deforestation overseas, the successful vote took place following a debate at which two of our recent case studies were specifically raised. For illegal timber, where such laws already exist in consumer countries, our stories have prompted fines and new guidance, improving their impact. Most recently, our work exposing timber oligarchs close to Putin and their exports to the West, and amplifying calls from Ukrainian civil society following the invasion, led to the EU and UK banning wood from Russia and Belarus, starving the warmongering regimes of almost €6bn a year.

Projects

Our investigations are complimented by dedicated projects on the illicit timber trade and the illegal destruction of forests for agri-commodities.

Illegal Deforestation Monitor scrutinises the unlawful conversion of forests for agribusiness around the globe.

Explore

The inside scoop on suspect wood, Timberleaks shines a spotlight on dodgy timber traders and supply chains.

Explore

Timber Investigation Centre

A guidebook to help activists and communities on the forest frontlines to investigate illegal logging and trade.

Explore

How We Are Funded

Our funding comes from charitable foundations and non-profits. We are an independent organisation and our work is not influenced by government or private sector interests. We do not accept funding from businesses. For a list of our past and present funders, click here.

Job Opportunities

Researcher / Campaigner £38,700 per year

Interested in an exciting role which helps protect forests, the climate and human rights? This may be the job for you.

Earthsight is looking for a Researcher/Campaigner to work alongside our Northern Forests Team Lead delivering impactful research, analyses and advocacy on wood products supply chains.

Over the years Earthsight has played a leading role investigating and exposing the links between illegal timber from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and Western importers and retailers. We have shone a light on how flawed certification schemes are undermining effective law enforcement in Western markets and sought to influence internal reform at these bodies. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted new focus on uncovering how Russian and Belarussian wood products still reach Western consumers and support these countries’ economies despite Western sanctions against them.

You will play a crucial role by helping drive forward Earthsight’s efforts to clean up global wood supply chains, including by debunking industry spin and monitoring and analysing relevant green labels and traceability technologies. You will support the delivery of advocacy campaigns aimed at key stakeholders to help strengthen law enforcement and increase transparency in opaque markets. You will also help expose how Western markets continue to fuel Russia and Belarus’ timber sectors, including through supply chains that are in breach of EU/US timber regulations or sanctions.

Full details here

Get In Touch

For general inquiries please contact info@earthsight.org.uk

If you want to share sensitive information that you think could be of interest to our work or future investigations, please email us securely at earthsightinvestigations@protonmail.com

All media requests should be sent to press@earthsight.org.uk.

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