11 August 2008 | Helen Gilbert
Timber purchasing for the Beijing Olympic venues was not transparent enough and lacked sufficient auditing, according to a new study.
The report by Greenpeace said the Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) failed to set out stringent and mandatory timber procurement guidelines, and "missed an opportunity" to show its commitment to sustainable forestry.
BOCOG aimed to minimise the impact of its purchasing activities on the environment, but Greenpeace could not confirm if this was achieved because BOCOG's processes were not properly audited. The report said: "The lack of a binding procurement policy and a lack of independent auditing mean there is no third-party confirmation of timber sources."
Greenpeace argued the Olympic body should have purchased timber from Forest Stewardship Council certified sources. It recommended the Chinese government introduce green procurement policies and encourage third-party organisations to certify and scrutinise future purchasing initiatives.
Stuart Goodall, chief executive of the Confederation of Forest Industries, said: "Buyers must understand what timber they need, identify suitable suppliers and seek assurances on the creditability of the source."