NHG Timber regularly conducts second party traceability audits with suppliers in high risk countries which provide important risk mitigation.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, earlier in the year Ben Goodwin was fortunate enough to fit in another one of his many due diligence trips to Africa.

During Ben’s visit he carried out due diligence at several forest concessions and mills in Cameroon and Congo over a period of 2 1/2 weeks.  Part of the practical aspect of due diligence involves making a random selection of logs from the log yard.  Their origins are then checked through the paper trail in the sawmill offices before being traced back to the stump in the various forest concessions, using GPS technology.

On average, Ben will trace 20 logs back to their stump per day, which means covering about 10-15 km per day through the rain forest.  The following are a few shots of Ben in action in the bush:

The only way of reaching most mills is by road, days are very long and many journeys can take up to 12 hours, covering less than 240 km a day due to difficult roads in the bush.  Some examples of the challenging conditions can be seen below:

Along the way, Ben also has the opportunity to sample the local cuisine and practice his photographic skills (spot the jumping monkey!).

Though there are many challenges whilst travelling and working in Africa, the fantastic scenery, wildlife and friendly people are just some of the many advantages.

Ben also fulfilled a personal ambition of his by distributing over 100 footballs to the local children in some very remote villages throughout Cameroon and Congo.  Several “kick-abouts” and football matches took place along the way!  A simple item such as football is a rare commodity in some of these very poor areas and Ben was delighted to witness the untold joy these gifts brought to the children.