Kyiv, 30 May 2023 - European companies are complicit in the destruction of old growth forests in the Ukrainian Carpathians, the timber from which is sold throughout the European Union. This is the shocking finding of a Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe research and field trip to the Ukrainian old-growth forest.
Greenpeace CEE is currently leading a 40-day expedition, to shed light on the massive destruction affecting the Carpathian forests across five countries: Romania, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.
Greenpeace is calling on the European Union to put in place effective measures to protect this natural European heritage. If European governments and institutions are serious about halting international deforestation and improving forest protection and restoration, they must start by implementing their own commitments and obligations to nature protection.
Yehor Hrynyk, a Ukrainian biologist, member of the expedition said: "The Ukrainian Carpathians are home to large areas of old-growth forest that are an essential biodiversity hotspot. Unfortunately, the Western European forest industry sees them only as a source of profit. The consequences of irresponsible logging in this region are devastating, in a country that is already suffering from an unjustified war and where it is more difficult than ever to apply the principles of nature conservation. The protected areas are not being established in forests with high conservation values so that the demand of the European market on timber and wood products is fulfilled.”
The latest Greenpeace CEE report, published in November 2022, revealed the extent to which the forests of the Carpathians have been impacted by industrial logging. Alarmingly, less than 3% of critical ecosystems are strictly protected, with the majority exposed to widespread logging and exploitation.
According to official statistics , the European Union is the main importer of Ukrainian timber and forest products. Greenpeace CEE, together with Ukrainian activists, have visited several logging sites located in old-growth forest areas over the past year, where the impacts of industrial logging are clearly visible.
One of the companies using timber from old-growth forests in the Ukrainian Carpathians is the Swiss owned company Swiss Krono. This company specialises in the production of particle board for the Ukrainian market and for export. On its website, Swiss Krono claims that the wood it purchases is sustainable, despite wood sourced from logging sites in old-growth forest areas having previously been supplied to Swiss Krono.
During their Carpathian expedition, Greenpeace team of Ukrainian, Polish and Romanian activists visited both the logging site providing wood to Swiss Krono and one of Swiss Krono's processing sites in Broshniv-Osada. Greenpeace CEE are calling on the company to stop using wood from pristine Carpathian forests.
Robert Cyglicki, Programme Director at Greenpeace CEE, said: "European governments and authorities must ensure that all high conservation value Carpathian forests, including those located in Ukraine, are strictly protected. If current trends continue, unprotected forests, essential for restoration and vital ecosystems for endangered species, will be eradicated. To address the climate and nature crises, the EU must protect the exceptional natural sites that remain on European soil from any kinds of extraction. At the same time, companies must take hands off these unique old-growth forests."
Photo and video footage of the investigation can be downloaded via our international Media Library https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJLKK99P
For additional information and interviews we can also link to our Ukrainian partners
Notes to editors:
 According to official statistics, in 2021 Ukraine exported 4,645,549 tons of wood and wood products with a total value of 2,005,803 USD (commodity groups 44-46). Despite the war, in 2022 exports of wood and products were 94% of last year's figure ($1,885,422), which was 4.3% of total exports from Ukraine in monetary terms.
Katarzyna Bilewska, Head of Comms at Greenpeace CEE in Poland, +48 500 236 211, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kateryna Bystryska, Communication Officer at Greenpeace CEE based in Kyiv, +380 67 305 7986, email@example.com
Greenpeace International Press Desk: +31 (0) 20 718 2470, firstname.lastname@example.org (available 24 hours)