The external factors that influence the environmental, social and economic performance of logging companies were studied using a questionnaire submitted to 30 logging concessions in five countries of the Congo Basin. This paper analyses socioeconomic constraints and environmental impacts experienced by these concessions, as well as their response to major external drivers of change. Concessionaires considered investment and operating finance their main constraint, followed by insufficient technical and human capacities, and inconsistent application of official regulations. Environmental problems directly produced by concessions' operations represented around one-third of the total score for environmental problems reported. Damage caused by construction of logging roads and erosion were identified as the main issues. Induced problems (two-thirds of the total score) were dominated by hunting, with encroachment and illegal logging perceived as much less significant. Policies, infrastructure, markets and technology are key external drivers of change in concessions' practices, while regional and international forestry institutions reportedly have the least influence, reflecting an emerging scepticism about the proliferation of international institutions and initiatives promoting sustainable forestry.