Background

Schweighofer initiative

On www.schweighofer-initiative.org we offer background information, answers to the most frequently asked questions and we state our point of view. The content will be extended constantly.

We also want to encourage all interested people and NGO’s to get in contact with us.

You will experience our everyday work and our corporate philosophy. We are determined to show our attitude towards responsible use of wood as a natural resource.

We feel obliged to do so - towards our employees, forestry, the timber industry and the interested public

For many years, Holzindustrie Schweighofer has been a pioneer in sustainable and responsible wood processing.

Because we work with and depend on wood.

Holzindustrie Schweighofer writes open letter to members of Romanian National Security Council – CSAT

13 May 2015 – Holzindustrie Schweighofer strongly supports any measure of preventing illegal logging and ensuring a sustainable forestry system in Romania. We appreciate President Iohannis’ targeting of this problem by now involving the Romanian National Security Council (CSAT), an independent body free of special interests in the forestry industry. This independent analysis of the current situation is essential and offers a path to practical recommendations based on correct facts and figures and in line with international laws.

In order to foster a transparent discussion, Holzindustrie Schweighofer has sent an open letter (attached) to all members of CSAT, informing them of our deep concerns regarding the first draft of modifications to the Forestry Code in Romania. In the draft initially passed by the Parliament, this legislation would breach several international trade and investment agreements as well as infringe the EU competition law.

Our letter also sought to explain how an unbalanced approach to illegal logging and the short-sighted market limitations, arisen out of special interest groups, would destroy thousands of jobs all over the country and put Holzindustrie Schweighofer’s future investments as well of those of new potential investors in Romania in harm’s way. A legislation which is in clear violation of international laws would jeopardize Romania’s credibility as a competitive host country for investors worldwide.

Holzindustrie Schweighofer has never intended to threaten the Romanian Government of international litigation. Holzindustrie Schweighofer stands ready to defend and protect our rights as a market participant but also those of our Romanian employees and partners and their families.

If the Romanian Government, and particularly the CSAT, is unable to dissuade the Parliament from excluding aspects of the legislation that violate existing international treaties and European competition law, any foreign investor in the forestry sector will have no choice but to undertake efforts to protect its investment under the law.

Holzindustrie Schweighofer stands ready to provide additional information to CSAT upon request in order to assist its independent decision-making process.

13 May 2015

S.C. Holzindustrie Schweighofer S.R.L.
Mădălina Mărtinaș, +40 230 207 385, madalina.martinas@schweighofer.ro
Strada Austriei Nr.1, 725400 Rădăuți, România

A personal statement of Gerald Schweighofer

Following unproven accusations of an NGO, which is wrongfully communicating that Holzindustrie Schweighofer is buying illegal wood, Gerald Schweighofer takes a stand in a very personal Video message: view video

Gerald Schweighofer: „Our company and employees have been subject to severe accusations over the past few days. It is claimed by an NGO - of all things - that we put Romanian woods at risk by using illegal methods. This is not true and hence, I choose to speak up in this way.

For many decades now, Holzindustrie Schweighofer has been a pioneer for sustainable and responsible wood processing. And I also want to say why we are so committed: wood is our livelihood. As a family business it would be totally wrong for us to destroy this resource. We are at the forefront to prevent illegal logging, support the fight against the destruction of forests and we are certified according to internationally recognized standards such as PEFC and FSC. We only process wood with registered documents of origin.

We have put in place seamless controls and monitoring in order to ensure this. We check the documents of origin at the gates of our sawmills. The delivery only gets on site if the legal origin has been duly proven. This is how we ensure that only legal and documented logs are supplied and processed. We totally refuse wood from National Parks - even though it is legal from certain regions according to the Forestry Law. Every supplier who does not adhere to our rules or who breaks the law loses his contract with us and the deliveries are not accepted.

A video which is currently doing the rounds online shows my employees filmed with a hidden camera. As you can see this video has been edited. My employees assured me that they have told the alleged customer that we only purchase legal wood. We have asked the producers of this film several times to provide us with the original material. I trust my employees, however, I have suspended the member of staff who is responsible for these conversations until the full facts are established.

I would like to invite all independent environmental organisations to meet me to discuss on how we can advocate together the conservation of forests and promote sustainable forestry. Because I am wholeheartedly committed to this goal.“

8th May 2015

Contact information:
Holzindustrie Schweighofer, Head office Vienna
theresa.willmann@schweighofer.at
+43 1 585 686 2-0
+43 664 544 5262

Clarification of Holzindustrie Schweighofer regarding a recent TV report in Romania and following media reports accusing our company of accepting wood from illegal sources:

  • Holzindustrie Schweighofer is and has always been strictly committed to responsible wood processing. The company strongly rejects all accusations that it is supporting or a benefiter of illegal wood trading. The contrary is true. Illegal wood trading is damaging the forest and the established wood industry.

  • Holzindustrie Schweighofer, in its very own interest, therefore supports and lives sustainability, has a well-established and extensive origin control system, is quality certified by renown independent institutions (PEFC, FSC), and processes only registered wood with documents of origin that fulfil all legal requirements of Romania and the European Union.

  • Statements of a company employee presented in a recent video material published by EIA have been massively shortened according to the involved employees, presented in a false context and is therefore misleading and providing wrongful information.

  • Nevertheless, we already started a re-check of all internal processes and suppliers, to – once again – prove and ensure that the highest environmental standards are met company-wide, now and in the future. The results will be transparently published and are subject to discussion with environmental organisations and public authorities.

Recently, some media in Romania have taken over unproven accusations of NGOs, accusing our company of inappropriate activities in the field of wood harvesting and purchasing and also questioned the company’s relations to public authorities in Romania.

Holzindustrie Schweighofer has been at the forefront of responsible wood processing for decades and is certified by independent, worldwide renown and accepted institutions, such as the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

We are therefore truly shocked about the recent unqualified attacks and wrongful reports about our company. Therefore, we would like to inform about the following facts and state clearly:

  • Any wood delivery to Holzindustrie Schweighofer has to be sourced from legal harvesting only. All our suppliers are contractually committed to that in their purchase contracts and – additionally – the fulfilment is controlled with legally binding documents at each delivery at the gates of our company. All suppliers must strictly obey these obligations in any case – otherwise they are liable to legal prosecution and can be sued for damages.

  • We strictly refuse to buy and process any wood from national parks (even though it is legal according to the forest law).

  • Holzindustrie Schweighofer fulfils all legal obligations, contractually commits suppliers to fulfil their legal obligations and has established internal control processes in addition. We co-operate with the authorities responsible for controlling and fighting against illegal wood harvesting and trading – and we are in favour of implementing even more efficient controls directly at harvesting sites and transport routes.

  • We have permanent and regular controls by the responsible authorities in all our mills. We are always transparently providing the necessary documents required by Romanian law and EU regulations for proving the legal provenience of the wooden materials we purchase. Despite other reports, Holzindustrie Schweighofer subsequently is not involved in legal cases about illegal wood purchase.

  • To prevent further wrongful accusations and prove publicly our high quality standards, Holzindustrie Schweighofer started a re-check of all internal processes and suppliers. The results of these re-checks will be published very soon and will be also provided to the responsible authorities and certification bodies.

  • We invite NGOs interested in and fighting for sustainable wood processing to directly contact us for further information. We are looking forward to a level-field dialogue and we are open to co-operations in the field of sustainability, which is clearly an area of common interests of NGOs, our company and the general public.

Gerald Schweighofer
Owner of Holzindustrie Schweighofer

29th April 2015

Contact information:
Holzindustrie Schweighofer, Head office Vienna
theresa.willmann@schweighofer.at
+43 1 585 686 2-0
+43 664 544 5262