B&Q and Wickes' boasts of impeccably green practices sound hollow today as both have been accused of selling illegal plywood, sourced from endangered rainforests that are home to the world's dangerously declining orang-utan population.
Official investigators claim that although the very ungreen plywood comes from a single Malaysian firm, Asia Plywood and originally 'harvested' from Borneo, it has remained on sale to unsuspecting customers at B&Q and Wickes outlets in the UK.
Unknowing customers of the DIY Giants were horrified to learn of the condemned plywood being sold in stores which hitherto were thought to have impeccably green credentials. Justine Burrows was one customer who summed up the feelings of visitors to an Essex B&Q outlet: "It's horrible to think of Orang-utans dying because trees are being taken illegally from their natural habitat. To find out it's this same wood that's sold as totally green by the likes of B&Q to trusting shoppers- it really makes me see red!"
Asia Plywood was stripped of its green credentials in December 2011and the investigating authorities ruled that none of its products made from February 2011 onwards should be put on sale. However, Wickes, which assures customers that its timber comes from a "responsible source", told press it would continue to sell the unethical timber as this was better than "putting it in a landfill site."