How Do You Know You Aren’t Using Illegally Harvested Teak?

At OHC, we hold ethics and quality to the highest standard. It’s the common thread that runs through every level of our business — from our relationships with suppliers overseas to the final product we offer our clients. This focus on ethics and quality is no different with the Teak that we supply.

Illegal harvesting in Myanmar

Unfortunately, for many Teak suppliers, this has not always been the case. In recent years, there have been troubling stories coming out of Myanmar – namely illegal harvesting and forging what’s called the “Green Book” (proof that the lumber is compliant with Myanmar’s laws).

While none of these stories involve our suppliers, they have raised a fair amount of skepticism about the supply and reputation of Myanmar.

 

An ethical product starts at the source

In our experience of supplying hardwood lumber, we know that legal and ethical practices start at the source. In this case, Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma).

Our team takes routine trips to Myanmar to inspect our suppliers and document their management systems. We believe that interacting with our overseas partners face-to-face is the only way to ensure that our Teak is harvested in a responsible way.

Not only do we meet with our suppliers, we also work with the MTE (Myanmar Timber Enterprise) to ensure our timber is of legal origin and demand that the Green Book (the MTE Document of Origin) be presented with every shipment prior to filling the container.

In addition, we work with IWPA (International Wood Products Association) to make sure the Myanmar government remains compliant with the U.S. government.

A change in U.S. regulation

We believe ethically sourced Teak goes beyond the requirements set by the U.S. government. Notably, in recent years the Obama administration opened sales directly from Myanmar to the U.S.

Prior to that, OHC believed the chain of custody was not sound enough to import Burmese Teak or any other species from other countries.

This is because Teak was sold to countries like Taiwan, India, China both legally and illegally. As a result, we continue to meet with our suppliers overseas to make sure that they meet OHC standards.

Relationships are key

We know there is no substitute for interacting with our suppliers in-person. In regards to Teak and the other hardwood products we offer, this is crucial to supplying high-quality and ethically-sourced products.

If you’d like to find out more about our Teak, stop by our page here or give us a call at 1-800-999-7616.

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