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How Illegal African Timber Ends Up in Home Depot

A 2022 file image of a Home Depot store in Annapolis, Maryland. Jim Watson / AFP

At least 1.2 million doors sold to U.S. consumers between 2017 and 2022 at the massive home improvement chain Home Depot came from threatened forests in Equatorial Guinea via China. This is the finding of a new Environmental Investigation Agency report on the trade in okoume, a kind of hardwood found in central Africa.

The report says despite an official export ban, 3.4 million tons of okoume logs worth nearly US $750 million were sold by Equatorial Guinea to China from 2014 to 2021. These are then processed into veneers to cover doors in factories in China, Thailand, and Malaysia.

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