Leading US plywood firm linked to alleged destruction, rights violations in Malaysia

The sustainability and legality claims of the largest plywood importer in the US have come under question after it was found to have received shipments of Malaysian plywood worth more than $500,000 from a supplier connected to environmental and human rights violations.

The 600 cubic meters (21,200 cubic feet) of plywood that Liberty Woods bought in January 2017 came from Shin Yang, a company that operates in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, according to the investigative non-profit organization Earthsight. Shin Yang, based in Miri, Sarawak, has faced repeated allegations that it does not manage its timber concessions sustainably and that it impinges on the rights of local indigenous communities, potentially making the wood it harvests illegal. A US law called the Lacey Act bans companies from importing illegally cut timber.

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