Being in the business of importing exotic hardwoods means being intimately familiar with the Lacey Act. For those not directly involved in lumber importing, the concept of Lacey Act compliance was pretty much an unknown for many years. However, when authorities seized materials from Gibson Guitars (particularly with the 2011 raid), even the public became aware of this legislation and the flexibility of interpretation involved in this vaguely worded legal ruling.
As the key phrase in question, “due care” has yet to be defined or illustrated clearly by the writers of the lumber amendment to the Lacey Act, there remains some lack of clarity around particular details of the Lacey Act. However, the Department of Justice’s ruling on the Gibson Guitar case and subsequent establishment of the “Lacey Act Compliance Program” will no doubt serve as an important precedent for future rulings.
For those still unfamiliar with the Lacey Act, the basic motivation behind it is to ensure legal and responsible sourcing and supply chains for all imported lumber, encouraging sustainability and forest conservation on a global scale. J. Gibson McIlvain has traditionally supported such aims.
The unusual aspect of this document is its placing the burden of proof on the importer and even holding the end user responsible for any chinks in the supply chain. Of course, that makes our customers (understandably) concerned about our policies and the procedures we use to help ensure an untainted supply chain. Thankfully, we’ve had measures in place for decades that have allowed us to meet or exceed the expectations that the Lacey Act places on lumber importers. As we have reviewed the details of the Gibson Guitar Lacey Act Compliance Program and compared our own McIlvain policies, we’re more certain than ever that we’re truly doing our part to remain above board in our exotic lumber sourcing.
First, while Gibson Guitars has pledged to “communicate with suppliers about [their] policies to determine any challenges the supplier may have in implementing the policies and work with the supplier to solve the issue,” J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber has kept open communication with many of the same foreign mills for decades. We take this concern a step further, though, by discussing with our sources any changes in local laws.
Second, Gibson Guitars promises to “ask questions to find as much information as possible regarding the supplier and where wood based products are originating, using ‘Gibson’s Legal Compliance Procurement Checklist’ to determine whether the product meets Gibson Guitar’s minimum requirements for known/legal wood products.” At the same time, J. Gibson McIlvain has traditionally conducted thorough research on any new lumber supplier, even employing local legal experts. We are concerned about consistently high lumber grade as well as thorough source documentation, forestry management plans, land concession documentation, and export documentation. Our policies demonstrate our steadfast commitment to upholding not only US law but also any applicable local laws that pertain to our suppliers.
The comparison of the remaining 5 qualifications of the Gibson Compliance Program shows a similarly high standard already in place by J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber. We look forward to continuing to provide high-quality, responsibly harvested, legally imported lumber to all our valued customers for generations to come.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods. As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
To order exotic imported lumber, which is backed by our guarantee that the wood is in full compliance with the Lacey Act, contact a lumber sales representative at J. Gibson McIlvain Company by calling toll free 800-638-9100.
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- Regulations essentially eliminate Spanish Cedar from the marketplace
Imagery provided by J. Gibson McIlvain Company.