For two years, Earthsight investigated illegal logging and timber corruption in Ukraine, and tracked connections to
overseas markets. Complicit in Corruption: How billion-dollar firms and European
governments are failing Ukraine's forests – was published in July 2018.
Complicit in Corruption reveals how illegality
permeates the timber supply chain in Ukraine from harvest to export. Field
investigations indicate that 40 per cent of the timber being produced by the
country's state-owned enterprises is illegally cut through the abuse of a
loophole allowing trees to be harvested to prevent the spread of disease.
The EU is by far the largest destination for Ukrainian wood
exports, representing 70 per cent of the total. EU purchases have been rising
rapidly, breaking €1 billion in 2017. Earthsight estimate that at least 40 per
cent of this wood was harvested or traded illegally.
Since our report was published it has made headlines in Ukraine, and has also featured in high profile media in Europe, including leading German news magazine Der Spiegel, and prime-time in-depth coverage on flagship German TV station Das Erste. Shortly after the report was published, the Ukrainian Prime Minister ordered a crackdown on illegal timber. Major EU buyers have suspended purchases, dropped suppliers or launched investigations in response, and Earthsight was invited to present the findings to a major roundtable meeting at the Ukrainian Parliament.
The full report is available in both English and Ukrainian (summary report also available in Ukrainian). See below for the report launch press release, along with a short film (available in Ukrainian) and follow up analysis. Additional stories exploring Ukraine's illegal timber trade have recently been published by Earthsight's Timberleaks project.