11. Covert calls identify suppliers

In 2010, a study[1] by Earthsight for WWF of high-risk wood product imports into the UK used trade data and other information to determine that external solid wood doors made from Meranti and imported from Indonesia were a product of interest. Web searches and undercover phone calls to retailers established a shortlist of five main companies selling or distributing these doors in the UK. Information on the supply chain of one of these companies – LPD Doors – was sought using both open requests by WWF and undercover phone calls in the guise of a concerned buyer by Earthsight. These inquiries led to the identification of the Indonesian manufacturer and exporter of the doors.

Earthsight visited the Indonesian supplier undercover, and was provided with documents showing that the company had recently sourced Meranti from as many as 20 different suppliers. All but one of these suppliers was a secondary trader, and no further information had been sought on the ultimate origin of the wood. The sole supplier with its own licensed logging concessions, PT Kayu Lapis Indonesia, had been the target of a number of NGO allegations of illegal logging and community exploitation. The research was therefore able to demonstrate that the Meranti used in the doors was of untraceable and risky source.

[1] WWF, ‘What Wood You Choose? Tracking forest products on sale in the UK back to their forest source’, February 2011, http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/what_wood_you_choose_feb11.pdf