By Harald Eraker
On Wednesday, the 23rd of April, Mr. Steinar Lem from The Future In Our Hands (FIOH) got an invitation from P4 to take part in a debate the next day in connection with the chains sale of English teak garden furniture. In glossy catalo-gues Ide Møbler & Interiør ad-vertised that the furniture imported from the English company Gloster are guaranteed qu-ality controlled plantationteak.
P4 asked whether Steinar Lem would have a debate with Ide's board-chairman, Mr. Morten Andresen, regarding the extent to which this furniture made of rainforest timber could be said to be controversial. After Mr. Lem's reply that it was necessary to know which country and if possible which plantation the teak was taken from, Ide's agent reveales to P4 that parts of the furniture had its origin from the Burma, which is under military dictatorship.
Confronted the next day at the debate with this fact and with FIOH's information about the extreme critic worthy situ-ation related to teak logging in Burma, the board chair-man and large shareholder Andresen admitted that this information was entirely new to them.
During the debate, Mr. Steinar Lem asked the chain-store "Ide" to immediately stop the import, sell out the remaining stock of teak furniture and send the profit to the rain forest conservation work, and release a statement of a apology.
The result of the exposure was not long to come It was later that evening, the 24th of April the media broke the news that "Ide" had made the decision to stop the sale of garden furniture made from Burmese teak. The company expressed at the same time that they were not aware the teak had come from Burma, a military dictatorship which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had asked Norwegian businesses not to invest in.
Norwatch Newsletter 5/97