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About the Deforestation Inc. investigation

Deforestation Inc. is an investigation organized and led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in collaboration with 43 media partners.

Deforestation Inc. is an investigation organized and led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in collaboration with 43 media partners. It has exposed flaws in environmental auditing and certification programs intended to promote responsible forestry and combat illegal logging and deforestation.

During the nine-month investigation, involving reporters from 28 countries, ICIJ and its partners found that major environmental auditing firms have ignored or failed to recognize glaring environmental damage caused by more than 340 clients in the forest-product industry, clients whose practices they certified as sustainable. The clients included timber traders, paper and pulp producers, furniture makers and other companies that deal in commodities linked to deforestation.

What’s more, ICIJ found that the industry remains largely unregulated despite its growing influence on what forest-product companies tell consumers and investors about the sourcing of their products and their commitment to helping end the global climate crisis.

Deforestation Inc. also shed light on governments’ weak efforts to stop the trade in wood from countries under authoritarian regimes, such as Myanmar, and it exposed how the abuse of sustainability certification enables companies at the center of such trade to mislead the public.

As part of the cross-border investigation, reporters tramped Indigenous forestland in western Canada to uncover evidence of clearcuts. They also followed the destructive path of illegal logging through Romania’s once lush forests. They inspected luxury yachts at boat shows in Fort Lauderdale, Amsterdam and Paris and visited the warehouses of teak traders in India. They staked out wood pellet mills in North Carolina to follow the supply chain to energy plants in the Netherlands. And they used drones to capture the extent of deforestation in Finland, South Korea and Indonesia.

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The reporting team examined records from more than 50 countries, including files leaked from Myanmar’s Internal Revenue Department and shared by Justice for Myanmar, a human rights group, U.K.-based news outlet Finance Uncovered and Distributed Denial of Secrets, a nonprofit whistleblower group.

The team studied global trade data from ImportGenius and corporate information in the Orbis database. Reporters sifted through confidential corporate documents, marketing material and court filings. They pored over environmental violation data obtained through Freedom of Information requests. And they learned about the inner workings of the forest-product industry from whistleblowers, confessed illegal loggers, and mill workers afraid of retaliation from powerful employers.

The globe-spanning findings by ICIJ and its media partners cast doubts on governments’ ability to deliver on promises to stop forest loss and land degradation by 2030 and hold deforesters and their enablers to account.

The Deforestation Inc. investigation is brought to you by:

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

Director: Gerard Ryle

Managing editor: Fergus Shiel

Project coordinator: Scilla Alecci

Senior editors: Dean Starkman, David Rowell

Data editor: Emilia Díaz-Struck

Reporters: Scilla Alecci, Brenda Medina

Data reporters: Agustin Armendariz, Jelena Cosic, Miguel Fiandor, Karrie Kehoe, Delphine Reuter, Margot Williams

Associate editors and fact checkers: Kathleen Cahill, Richard H.P. Sia

Online editor: Hamish Boland-Rudder

Digital editor: Asraa Mustufa

Digital producer: Carlos Monteiro

Web developer: Antonio Cucho Gamboa

Video producer: Scilla Alecci

Copy editor: Joe Hillhouse

Chief technology officer: Pierre Romera

Technology team: Caroline Desprat, Marie Gillier, Soline Ledésert, Bruno Thomas, Maxime Vanza Lutaonda, Whitney Awanayah

Training manager: Jelena Cosic

Illustrator: Ricardo Weibezahn

Reporters and editors

Kaspar Fink (Austria)

Bernt Koschuh (Austria)

Ulla Kramar-Schmid (Austria)

Emanuel Liedl (Austria)

Elisabeth Lind (Austria)

Martin Thür (Austria)

Elena Crisan (Austria)

Stefan Melichar (Austria)

Michael Nikbakhsh (Austria)

Aliaksei Hulitski (Belarus)

Stanislau Ivashkevich (Belarus)

Alexander Yarashevich (Belarus)

Rafael De Souza Oliveira (Brazil)

Bruno Fonseca (Brazil)

Natalia Viana (Brazil)

Mario Cesar Carvalho (Brazil)

Fernando Rodrigues (Brazil)

Guilherme Waltenberg (Brazil)

Fernanda da Escóssia (Brazil)

Allan de Abreu (Brazil)

Bernardo Esteves (Brazil)

Luiz Fernando Toledo (Brazil)

Luigi Mazza (Brazil)

Olivier Bourque (Canada)

Zach Dubinsky (Canada)

Lynette Fortune (Canada)

Stephanie Matteis (Canada)

Leanne Stepnow (Canada)

Elizabeth Thompson (Canada)

Stefan Labbé (Canada)

Joan Baxter (Canada)

Francisca Skoknic (Chile)

Ante Pavić (Croatia)

Kirsi Skön (Finland)

Vincent Nouvet (France)

Adrien Senecat (France)

Anne-Laure Barral (France)

Jacques Monin (France)

Jörg Diehl (Germany)

Philipp Kollenbroich (Germany)

Katrin Langhans (Germany)

Roman Lehberger (Germany)

Marvin Milatz (Germany)

Lina Verschwele (Germany)

Marcus Engert (Germany)

Fabian Grieger (Germany)

Isabel Schneider (Germany)

Lea Struckmeier (Germany)

Benedikt Strunz (Germany)

Dajana Kollig (Germany)

Frederik Obermaier (Germany)

Bastian Obermayer (Germany)

Timo Schober (Germany)

Christoph Cadenbach (Germany)

Ben Heubl (Germany)

Kristiana Ludwig (Germany)

Mauritius Much (Germany)

Petra Blum (Germany)

Andreas Braun (Germany)

Arnd Henze (Germany)

Achim Pollmeier (Germany)

Jay Mazoomdaar (India)

Ritu Sarin (India)

Amitabh Sinha (India)

Faisal Javier (Indonesia)

Krisna Pradipta (Indonesia)

Anton Septian (Indonesia)

Moerat Sitompul (Indonesia)

Edoardo Anziano (Italy)

Fabio Papetti (Italy)

Giulio Rubino (Italy)

Paolo Biondani (Italy)

Gloria Riva (Italy)

Leo Sisti (Italy)

Šarūnas Černiauskas (Lithuania)

Aidila Razak (Malaysia)

Fion Yap (Malaysia)

Mathieu Tourliere (Mexico)

Violeta Santiago (Mexico)

Armando Talamantes (Mexico)

Hanneke Chin-A-Fo (Netherlands)

Karlijn Kuijpers (Netherlands)

Matt Nippert (New Zealand)

Ghiovani Hinojosa (Peru)

Milagros Salazar (Peru)

Gonzalo Torrico (Peru)

Grzegorz Broniatowski (Poland)

Julia Dauksza (Poland)

Anna Gielewska (Poland)

Mariusz Sepiolo (Poland)

Konrad Szczygiel (Poland)

Attila Biro (Romania)

Matej Zwitter (Slovenia)

Anuška Delić (Slovenia/Croatia)

Hyein Kang (South Korea)

Jiyoon Kim (South Korea)

Yongjin Kim (South Korea)

Myungju Lee (South Korea)

Sylvain Besson (Switzerland)

Christian Broennimann (Switzerland)

Bernhard Odehnal (Switzerland)

Oliver Zihlman (Switzerland)

Yi-Shan Chen (Taiwan)

Kwangyin Liu (Taiwan)

Silva Shih (Taiwan)

Steve Yeo (Taiwan)

Pelin Ünker (Turkey)

Serdar Vardar (Turkey)

Tom Johnson (United Kingdom)

Michael Kodas (United States)

Marianne Lavelle (United States)

Vernon Loeb (United States)

Shirsho Dasgupta (United States)

Casey Frank (United States)

Ben Wieder (United States)

Media Partners


  • ORF
  • profil


  • Belarusian Investigative Center


  • Knack
  • De Tijd
  • Le Soir


  • Agência Pública
  • Poder360
  • Revista Piauí


  • CBC / Radio-Canada
  • Glacier Media
  • Halifax Examiner


  • LaBot


  • Oštro


  • Yle, Finnish Broadcasting Company


  • Le Monde
  • Radio France


  • Der Spiegel
  • NDR
  • Paper Trail Media
  • Süddeutsche Zeitung
  • WDR


  • The Indian Express


  • Tempo


  • IRPIMedia
  • L’Espresso


  • Investigative Center Siena


  • Malaysiakini


  • Proceso
  • Quinto Elemento Lab


  • NRC

New Zealand

  • New Zealand Herald


  • Convoca


  • Fundacja Reporterow


  • Context


  • Oštro

South Korea

  • Newstapa


  • Tamedia


  • Commonwealth Magazine


  • Deutsche Welle

United Kingdom

  • The Gecko Project

United States

  • Inside Climate News
  • Miami Herald
ICIJ is dedicated to ensuring all reports we publish are accurate. If you believe you have found an inaccuracy let us know.