DoubleHelix statement regarding okoume veneers investigation
Following recent media coverage, DoubleHelix has been made aware of an upcoming report by the US office of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), and an associated investigation by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), into okoume veneers sourced from Gabon and the Republic of Congo by Cornerstone Forest Products and Evergreen Hardwoods Inc.
DoubleHelix is currently unaware of the scope or time period of the EIA investigation or of the details of any allegations contained within the upcoming report. This statement serves to clarify DoubleHelix’s relationship with Roseburg, and the scope of work conducted on their behalf to date.
DoubleHelix has been engaged by Roseburg Forest Products since October 2017, to provide support and independent expertise to Roseburg's Lacey Compliance program.
As part of this engagement, DoubleHelix conducted a preliminary desk-based review of all Roseburg’s international supply chains. DoubleHelix was subsequently contracted to conduct on-site assessments at two manufacturing sites of okoume veneers in the Republic of Congo and Gabon. The assessments were planned and carried out in June 2018 with the full cooperation of Cornerstone, Evergreen and the manufacturers. Both assessments were conducted by experienced, regionally-based DoubleHelix staff, with full knowledge of the local regulatory requirements in each jurisdiction.
No evidence of illegal activity was found related to the harvest, transport, production and trade of the okoume products. A number of recommendations were made to mitigate specific risks identified during the assessments. Following these recommendations, new procedures to mitigate risk were implemented at both manufacturers, with accompanying training of factory staff to raise awareness of Lacey Act requirements. All activities were carried out and completed by the end of November 2018.
During this time, DoubleHelix’s scope of work has extended to product risk assessment of the okoume veneers, implementation of procedures to mitigate identified risk, and associated training only. The okoume product has not been subject to ongoing verification on a consignment basis.
DoubleHelix will continue to monitor any developments related to this matter and provide assistance to our client accordingly.