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Responsible Forestry, Responsible Charcoal

Responsible Forestry, Responsible Charcoal


Charcoal, made from wood heated in a low-oxygen environment, has long been used for fuel in households, as well as industrial production.

Just under two-thirds of the world’s charcoal comes from Africa, while Brazil is the largest producing country. In parts of Africa, Asia and South America, charcoal is often linked to forest degradation and social issues. In some instances, it is also used to launder illegal wood and finance illegal activities.


50 million tonnes of charcoal are produced every year, representing about 400 million tonnes of wood.
Depending on the technology used, between 4 to 12 tonnes of wood is needed to make 1 tonne of charcoal.
Our charcoal team conducts over 30 field visits yearly, assessing the impact of about 127,000 tonnes of charcoal.

Our work

Earthworm Foundation is shedding light on the dark side of this wood-based product’s opaque supply chain. We are working to reveal the origin of charcoal sold in Europe, all the way back to the forest source, and to tackle issues throughout the supply chain.

Since 2012, we have been analysing charcoal bags sold in Europe to verify their wood species and origin. Our findings showed that many products contained undeclared tropical wood, leading to fieldwork to verify retailers’ supply chains and find solutions to resolve identified issues. We are also creating an integrated online platform to showcase charcoal challenges to the wider public and relay best practices to producers and importers, as well as promote afforestation programs.

Like all forest products, charcoal has an impact on natural ecosystems and people. Reducing this impact while promoting afforestation programmes contributes to better products and a healthier planet. Charcoal may yet have a brighter future.

In June 2019, Earthworm Foundation launched the Charcoal Transparency Initiative in order to bring more transparency to the European charcoal sector. The aim is to enable all consumers to get access to the product story of their charcoal bags.

Discover more about the Charcoal Transparency Initiative HERE.

CLICK HERE if you are interested in working with us.

CLICK HERE if you have a question about our work on charcoal.

News & Stories

Dec 31, 2018

Earthworm Foundation's 2018 analysis of British, German, French, Belgian and Polish charcoal markets.

Aug 9, 2018

Analyse 2018: le charbon de bois sur le marché français

Jul 24, 2018

TFT's clarification on Sunday Times charcoal story


Jun 15, 2022

Charcoal Bags Analysis POLAND 2022 Charcoal Customs Data

pdf. 2.3 MB

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Jun 15, 2022

Charcoal Bags Analysis GERMANY 2022 Charcoal Customs Data

pdf. 2.3 MB

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Jun 5, 2019

European charcoal market UK 2019

pdf. 7.0 MB

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Jun 6, 2019

European charcoal market GERMANY 2019

pdf. 8.4 MB

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Jun 6, 2019

European charcoal market FRANCE 2019

pdf. 9.3 MB

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Apr 16, 2019


pdf. 1.1 MB

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