New report: House Builders and Condominium Developers asked to cease buying timber products from Sarawak, Malaysia due to impacts on forests and livelihoods.

MEDIA RELEASE: MARKETS FOR CHANGE and JATAN TOKYO 29th March 2016

Japanese housing companies and condominium developers and their suppliers are being asked by international and Japanese forest campaign groups to ensure that they do not contribute to forest destruction and the dispossession of indigenous people from their forest homes in Sarawak, Malaysia.

A report “From Forest to Floor: How Japan’s Housing Construction is Driving Forest Destruction and the Dispossession of Indigenous People in Sarawak” is being publicly released this week by Markets For Change and JATAN. Seminars for companies in the supply chain from Sarawak forests are being held in Tokyo and Osaka to present the report and its findings.

Markets For Change and JATAN are calling for companies to cease using timber product originating from Sarawak, particularly flooring. We are also asking consumers to inquire about the source of flooring in new homes, to refuse to buy where Sarawak forests have been felled to produce that timber, and to insist on alternative, genuinely sustainable sources independently certified to the highest standard – Forest Stewardship Council Certification.

“This report is the product of exhaustive research into the serious impacts on the forests and local indigenous communities in Sarawak, and investigated the entire supply chain from those forests through to housing and condominium developers in Japan,” said Markets For Change CEO, Peg Putt.

“We believe that the informed buyer will not want the beauty of their new home to be at the expense of the biodiverse tropical forests that are the home of indigenous people and where orangutans, clouded leopard, and many other unique species also live.”

“Wood from Sarawak is frequently illegally logged, often involves human rights abuses, is environmentally destructive of irreplaceable ecosystems and exacerbates climate change. Yet Japan takes the majority of Sarawak’s plywood exports, and these comprise a half of Japan’s entire plywood import. The housing market is full of this timber.”

“We have already commenced discussions with trading companies, flooring manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, and with the end users: housing companies and condominium developers. We have found a mistaken reliance on legality as the only relevant criteria – neglecting serious environmental and human rights concerns, and that Japan’s current systems for ensuring legality are fundamentally flawed as well.”

“Public exposure in Japan and internationally of the impact in Sarawak of Japan’s demand for its cheap timber is needed. We hope this will prompt action from companies throughout the supply chain to swap to a different supply and stop buying timber originating in Sarawak,” Ms Putt concluded

Download the English version of report here (PDF)
Download the Japanese version of report here (PDF)


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