The federal investigation into whether Gibson Guitars uses illegally imported wood from endangered tropical trees comes just as an environmental group was scheduled to audit the company.
The Rainforest Alliance certifies wood that is obtained using sustainable practices. For more than a decade, it’s given a stamp of approval to South American mahogany used in Gibson instruments. The organization had planned to perform its usual check of company records on Monday to make sure that certification could still stand.
That audit is now on hold as the US Fish and Wildlife Service looks for evidence that the another kind of wood used at Gibson came illegally from Madagascar. Company officials have said they’re cooperating with the investigation, and that they only use law-abiding suppliers.
Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is a member of the board of directors of Rainforest Alliance. He’s temporarily stepped down from that position.