An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evilTags: Guyana, South Africa, FSC Secretariat, SGS Qualifor

A couple of weeks ago, FSC-Watch received this email from Wally Menne of TimberWatch in South Africa. It raises an interesting point - the FSC International Secretariat produces almost exclusively good news, no matter what is happening in the outside world. So far, Wally has not received either a reply or an acknowledgment of his email. We will, of course, be happy to post FSC's response when it appears.

Subject: RE: [FSCmembership] [N&N] News & Notes Annual Review 2006
From: Wally Menne
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 18:38:00 +0200
To: <....>, <....>

Dear Uta

Thank you for the News & Notes Annual Review 2006.

It makes interesting reading, but I fear that it does not give a realistic view of the actual situation within FSC.

People need to know the full story about what is happening at FSC - not only the good news, but also some of the interesting challenges and problems that face the organisation. There needs to be a good balance in reporting, otherwise people will start to suspect that there is an attempt by FSC management to cover up anything negative that has happened. This could create far more problems in terms of members becoming disillusioned by the seeming unwillingness of FSC management to be open and honest.

For example, I heard today that there has been a suspension of the certification of Barama Co Ltd (BCL), Guyana (SGS-FM/COC-2493) forests undertaken by SGS Qualifor. Why did this news not come to me from FSC first?

Here in South Africa there is great concern about the poor standard of performance by SGS-Qualifor as a FSC approved certification body. Looking at the public summary of the audit of the SGS certification of Barama Co Ltd (BCL), there are the same problems that we see with the cerification work done by SGS-Qualifor here in South Africa. Unfortunately the performance of the Soil Association has not been much better.

Perhaps it is time to include some of the complaints that NGO stakeholders have about the way FSC accredited certification bodies fail to honour their obligations to delivering the standard of work that is expected of them.


Wally Menne South Africa



I agree with Mr Menne's comments about the lack of openness of the FSC (despite his patronising familiarity and lack of knowledge re pesticides in his comment of 18th January).

The last information regarding the pesticides review process on the FSC web-site was in December 2005, to do with the derogation process. Since then, there has been considerable activity. Over 50 companies and organizations from Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada (called the CANZUS group) were represented at a meeting with the FSC in Bonn in November 2006, following much agitation about the unrealistic and unscientific pesticides criteria and the derogation process, including the lack of recognition by the FSC of the regulatory systems for pesticides in these advanced countries. As a result of this meeting, a new 'Pesticides Expert Panel' was established, comprising 6 members; two of those had previously provided commissioned (paid for) input. I criticized this to those members and to Heiko Leideker by e-mail, because the panel cannot be said to be truly independent and I regard their inclusion as unethical and unprofesssional. I will not name the panel members at this time. Their report has, I believe, been finalized but reasonable time must be given for the FSC to consider the findings and any recommendations.

The point is, of course, that none of this has been recorded on the FSC web-site.


Barry Tomkins

Mr Menne
Being a newcomer to this debate, I see only negetive comments that you have posted. Surely if you want the FSC to have a change of mind, you should too. Why don't you give us at least one of the success stories of FSC. Be bold, be brave and show us the way!

If you look at the posting about the suspension of the Barama certificate, you will see that we have already congratulated the FSC for its work in exposing the disgraceful performance of SGS.

More generally though, when the FSC starts telling the whole truth - instead of just continuing to pour out ridiculous (and misleading) 'hoorah' stories every month in its newsletter and elsewhere - then perhaps FSC-Watch will think about running more FSC 'success stories'.

All the best

Dear Sirs,
Have a great day&#65281;

We are a Chinese company which have FSC certified,we have some questions on FSC documents:invoice,B/L and other documents,we need help,and please let us know who we can contact,thanks!

Best regards,

@Jack - contact FSC (this is FSC-Watch). FSC's website is www.fsc.org.

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