Industry News

ROSEBURG SERVING AS A WITNESS IN VENEER INVESTIGATION

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Company has ended all imports, sales and use of okoume

Springfield, Ore. – Roseburg Forest Products wishes to clarify that at this time the company is a cooperating witness in a U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) investigation into alleged illegal imports of okoume veneer by Cornerstone Forest Products. Media reports have inaccurately stated or implied that Roseburg is the focus of the investigation. To date, media outlets including The Oregonian, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Associated Press have not corrected their misleading reports.

An ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent contacted Roseburg’s legal department on March 11 to inform the company of the investigation into alleged illegal timber imports by Cornerstone and potentially others. Roseburg has been completely cooperative and transparent with investigators. HSI investigators have repeatedly assured Roseburg that the company is not the focus of the investigation at this time.

Out of an abundance of caution, Roseburg has ended the use of okoume veneer from any and all sources while the investigation proceeds. The company has also suspended its business relationships with Cornerstone and another importer, Evergreen Hardwoods, and quarantined all okoume fiber from these two businesses in our inventory. Roseburg fully supports the investigation and ICE’s efforts to identify and end illegal timber imports. The company takes compliance with the Lacey Act and all other rules and regulations very seriously. Ferreting out bad actors is in the best interests of the wood products industry, as well as the source countries.

To that end, Roseburg has a robust compliance program to mitigate the risk of noncompliance with the Lacey Act. As part of that program, Roseburg requires all wood fiber suppliers to abide by our Fiber Procurement Policy and sign our Standard Application and Agreement, which mandate that all fiber sold to Roseburg be taken, possessed, transported and sold in compliance with the Lacey Act. Roseburg’s Lacey Act due diligence does not stop with certifications. With the assistance of third party experts in supply chain compliance such as DoubleHelix Tracking Technologies (DoubleHelix), Roseburg proactively audits suppliers to assess compliance and mitigate risk. 

In the summer and fall of 2018, on Roseburg’s behalf, DoubleHelix conducted okoume veneer supply chain risk assessments and compliance audits of both Cornerstone and Evergreen. Roseburg initiated these audits as a proactive step through our standard compliance process, not due to any concerns or complaints regarding the two companies’ services.

As part of the audits, DoubleHelix conducted full, boots-on-the-ground, onsite supply chain audits of okoume veneer sourced from the Republic of Congo (onsite Aug. 14, 2018) and Gabon (onsite July 30, 2018). The audits investigated country, species, supply chain, market and other external factors. The results of both audits were favorable, with no findings of Lacey Act violations and only a few risk mitigation findings, all of which were reported resolved to Roseburg’s satisfaction.

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