JAF Group suspends Ukrainian suppliers


Earthsight informs JAF about illegal activities relating to Ukrainian timber imports into the EU. JAF Group responds immediately and places the suppliers Kitus LLC and Expert Assistance on a group-wide blacklist.

The non-profit organisation Earthsight informed the JAF Group in December 2017 about corruption and illegal activities related to timber imports from the Ukraine into the EU. In its report, Earthsight accuses a series of companies of not complying with the due diligence obligation defined by the EUTR. Reference was also made to purchases made by the JAF subsidiaries JAF Holz Ungarn (Hungary) and J.F. Furnir in Romania.

Suppliers placed on group-wide blacklist

“The evidence mentioned by Earthsight relating to JAF was immediately evaluated internally,” says Katharina Schabasser, CSR Officer at the JAF Group. This investigation revealed that the suppliers named by Earthsight had supplied logs to J.F. Furnir in 2015. The cooperation with both of these suppliers only took place in that year. The abovementioned companies and the associated individuals were immediately blacklisted throughout the group as soon as JAF became aware of the accusations. All Ukrainian supplier relationships have since been reviewed.

“JAF is well aware of its role as a major market player,” Schabasser says. “For us, ensuring the legal origins of our products is a top priority within the entire JAF Group and, associated with this, the key to our standing as a reputable and reliable partner for suppliers and customers. It is for this reason that the JAF Group attaches such importance to an open exchange with NGOs such as Earthsight which make an important contribution to industry transparency.”

Strict internal control system

A strict due diligence obligation system in line with the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) is in place at the JAF Group. This system is based on three pillars: the procurement of information, risk assessments and risk mitigation. In addition, the CSR department at head office also performs internal audits in every country in which JAF operates. Regular inspections are also performed by the competent national authorities; inspections which also confirm that JAF complies with the requirements of the EUTR. “The JAF Group also strives to further develop its internal review system above and beyond the legal requirements,” Schabasser adds.