Stop the Chop

Stop the Chop

Sarawak's aggressive logging policy has drastically reduced the rainforests. Now, the logging companies and the government are promoting the PEFC timber sustainability label. The affected indigenous people are fighting against the label’s greenwashing with the support of the Bruno Manser Fund.

For decades, Sarawak has topped the list of regions with the highest timber exports. While the rainforest almost completely covered Sarawak in the 1960s, it now accounts for only 10 percent of the area. Logging roads amount to over 88,000 km, twice the circumference of the earth.

The global acceptance of tropical timber has decreased in the face of this destruction of the forests. To boost sales of tropical timber, the Sarawak government and timber companies are now promoting the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) sustainability label. But the PEFC certification is a fraudulent label and does not deliver what it promises. The standard requires the consent of the affected villages for logging. However, this is hardly ever the case. Experience shows that our partner villages in Sarawak are not informed about the sustainability certification of the timber companies, let alone consulted.

The logging company Samling is currently undergoing certification in the core area of the Penan, this includes the primary forest of the Baram Peace Park. The protest letters of the affected indigenous people are being ignored. Neither the authorities nor the certification bodies feel responsible for enforcing compliance with the standard.

PEFC-certified wood from Sarawak also made it to the Olympic Games in Japan: it was used as concrete formwork for the new buildings for the Summer Olympics. This wood came from the company Shin Yang. Shin Yang is known for its particularly aggressive logging practices and systematic violation of the rights of the local population. Several Penan communities took Shin Yang to court for illegal logging and land grabbing, so far without success.

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