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Re Illegal timber from Honduras, Aljoma Lumber and The - PDF by bnr55237

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									Robert L. Nardelli
Chairman, President and CEO
The Home Depot, Inc
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339-4024
Fax: (770) 384-3616

March 7, 2006

Dear Mr. Nardelli,

Re: Illegal timber from Honduras, Aljoma Lumber and The Home Depot Wood Purchasing
Policy

       “The Home Depot expects its vendors and their suppliers of wood and wood
       products to maintain compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to
       their operations and the products they manufacture.”
       – Home Depot Wood Purchasing Policy, 5/17/2005

I am following up on our conference call with Ron Jarvis on November 15th, 2005 concerning
The Home Depot’s purchase of wood supplies from Aljoma Lumber, the US affiliate of Jose
Lamas S. de R.L., the largest timber producer and exporter in all of Honduras.

We would like to thank Mr. Jarvis for taking the time to speak openly about the matters outlined
in EIA’s report, “The Illegal Logging Crisis in Honduras,” and the points he made during our
conversation.

However, EIA is profoundly disappointed by The Home Depot’s response regarding Aljoma
Lumber. Senior management at Aljoma Lumber informed EIA that they sell $180 million worth
of timber and wood products to The Home Depot each year (i.e. $15 million per month). EIA
documented illegal log and timber purchases by Aljoma’s Honduran operation, Jose Lamas S. de
R.L., from three separate sources, including the Najera sawmill where EIA witnessed hundreds
of illegal logs. Illegal logging, timber trafficking and corruption are rife in Honduras.

Since the release of the EIA Report, Aljoma Lumber has not denied EIA’s account of their
receipt of illegal timber from their Honduras operation. In addition, The Home Depot’s statement
that you are “99% certain” that Aljoma is not supplying The Home Depot with Honduran wood
leads us to believe that The Home Depot largely relies on Aljoma’s statements that Honduran
wood products are not sold to Home Depot.

In 2002, the US government seized over $2 million worth of Brazilian mahogany imported by
Aljoma because the mahogany did not have legally issued certificates required by the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Given that both Aljoma’s
Honduran and US operations have been associated with illegal activities, EIA proposed that The
Home Depot require Aljoma to undertake an independent audit of their wood supplies to
ascertain the origin and legality of their timber.


                                   P.O. Box 53343 • Washington, DC 20009
      Tel: 202-483-6621 • Fax: 202-986-8626 • E-mail: usinfo@eia-international.org • www.eia-international.org
                       Directors: Myra Best, Susan Fountain, Allan Thornton, Pam Wellner
There is a major disconnect between The Home Depot’s wood purchasing policy referenced in
the opening of this letter and the existing relationship between Home Depot and Aljoma Lumber.
When EIA raised the issue of Aljoma’s non-compliance with The Home Depot’s Wood
Purchasing Policy, you stated that Aljoma Lumber complies with Home Depot’s policy because
“until their local government says they have broken the law, it is hard for us to take any action.”

EIA does not accept that The Home Depot cannot compel Aljoma Lumber to comply with the
laws of Honduras (and indeed the other countries it procures timber and wood supplies from).
We are disappointed that The Home Depot has sought to evade the meaningful application of its
stated wood purchasing policy in this instance.

EIA therefore repeats our request that The Home Depot require Aljoma Lumber to undertake
auditing by an independent party to ascertain the source and legal status of the timber and wood
supplies from Honduras. The Home Depot’s policy states that it “will continue to use its wood
purchasing policy as our primary source for change within the timber industry.” The Home
Depot’s relationship with Aljoma Lumber affords an excellent opportunity to ensure the rigorous
implementation of your wood purchasing policy and to use this substantial trade relationship to
garner additional information from Aljoma Lumber to ensure their full compliance with The
Home Depot’s policy that “vendors and their suppliers of wood and wood products maintain
compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to their operations and the products they
manufacture.”
EIA strongly urges The Home Depot to enact such a requirement of Aljoma Lumber at the
earliest possible opportunity.

Yours sincerely,




Allan Thornton                                              Andrés Tamayo
President                                                   Environmental Movement of Olancho (MAO)
Environmental Investigation Agency                          Barrio El Pino, Km 109 Calle Principal Tegucigalpa a
P.O. Box 53343                                              Campamento
Washington, DC 20009                                        Campamento, Honduras




Ricardo Steiner B.                                          Oswaldo Munguía
President                                                   Executive Director
Honduran Ecologist Network for Sustainable                  MOPAWI (Agency for the Development of the
Development (REHDES)                                        Mosquitia)
4ta. Ave, 8 y 9 Calle, Barrio El Imán                       Apartado Postal #2175
La Ceiba, Honduras                                          Tegucigalpa, Honduras


Cc: Ron Jarvis, Vice President, Merchandising, The Home Depot

                                    P.O. Box 53343 • Washington, DC 20009
       Tel: 202-483-6621 • Fax: 202-986-8626 • E-mail: usinfo@eia-international.org • www.eia-international.org
                        Directors: Myra Best, Susan Fountain, Allan Thornton, Pam Wellner

								
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