Attention green furniture companies: The wood you've been purchasing as eco-certified may in fact be coming from illegal timber.

A new scandal has errupted in Brazil where a federal prosecutor is leading an investigation into charges that illegal timber from the state of Pará is being laundered as "eco-certified" wood and exported to markets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. From the article,

Prosecutor Bruno Valente Soares has found evidence to suggest that timber companies are doctoring paperwork and using other methods to disguise timber that is being illegally cut from reserves and indigenous lands. International buyers pay a premium for certified timber, which they can market as being more sustainable than other wood. The timber goes to furniture makers and construction companies abroad.
This issue clearly shows the need for even more rigorous certifications and checks on the true origins of wood products in and around the Amazon region. According to the author, the scheme involves a staggering 3,000 companies across Pará's timber sector! 

Moral of the story: If you spy something sporting the "eco-certified" designation, do a bit of digging to make sure what you're buying is not contributing to illegal deforestation of the Amazon. Hopefully, the prosecutor can uncover the individuals and businesses responsible for this laundering scheme so that companies around the world can sever ties.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Illegal Amazon timber passed off as eco-certified
Massive wood laundering scheme may involve more than 3,000 companies.