FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Greenpeace attacked for supporting FSC: call for 'suppressed' report to be publishedTags: Greenpeace

The US-based 'e-activist' network Ecological Internet has launched a letter-writing campaign aimed at Greenpeace, asking them to withdraw their support for FSC-certified 'ancient forest logging'. The campaign demands that Greenpeace publishes a report on 'problematic' FSC certificates, which is believed to have been under investigation by the green group for many months. The new campaign is specifically directed at Grant Rosoman, of Greenpeace New Zealand, who is asked to resign as Chair of FSC's international Board. Greenpeace's forest activists worldwide are also being targetted, and are likely to received many thousands of protest e-mails.

Ecological Internet's Action Alert asks "What body of ecological science and experience does Greenpeace have to support its stance?" of supporting FSC. "Critical questions" such as this, it says "remain unanswered". Ecological Internet (EI) is one of the largest e-activist envionmental networks worldwide, and is home to portals on a range of subjects, including the Forest Conservation Portal, probably the most comprehensive source of topical information on forests available on the internet.

EI says that "It is a difficult decision" to campaign against what it describes as Greenpeace's "greenwashing" of the ancient forest logging industry. EI claims that Greenpeace and the FSC have been "so defensive of their failed support of industrial certified forestry, that true forest conservationists no longer have an option" but to campaign against Greenpeace. Concerning Greenpeace's research into questionable FSC certficates, Ecological Internet asks "Where is this report, and when is Greenpeace going to publish it"?

The text of the 'form letter' which EI asks activists to send to Greenpeace campaigners follows below. FSC-Watch invites Greenpeace to respond here to EI's campaign.

Grant Rosoman Greenpeace, New Zealand and Chairperson, Forest Stewardship Council

Dear Mr. Rosoman,

I wish to renew the call for Greenpeace to end your support for ancient forest logging. There is no such thing as certified, sustainable logging of primary and old- growth forests. Greenpeace's continued support (along with other senior respected NGOs) of failed efforts by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to reform industrial logging of ancient forests is causing great harm to the world's climate, indigenous peoples, biodiversity and prospects for global ecological sustainability.

I understand that recently Greenpeace began investigating 'problematic' FSC certifications. Where is this report, and when is Greenpeace going to publish it? It is simply unacceptable to suppress findings that show just how destructive industrial certified forestry is in the world's last large and contiguous forest wildlands.

In an era of runaway, abrupt climate change and dwindling primary forests; Greenpeace's support of ancient forest logging makes you a valid target of protest. Please look past your individual and organization's self-interest and think how logging millions of year old ecosystems that evolved naturally does a grave disservice to the environment.

Greenpeace must immediately cease supporting industrial scaled logging of primary and old-growth forests. It is essential that Greenpeace, which has done so much good for the Earth, have the courage and wisdom to admit when you are wrong and change course. Greenpeace should either reply substantively to these concerns or abandon support for certified logging of ancient rainforests. Obstinacy is not a substitute for argument.

I call upon Greenpeace to immediately withdraw as an organization from FSC, to release the suppressed FSC report on problematic certications, and for you personally Mr. Rosoman to resign your position as chair. Until Greenpeace commits to ending ancient forest logging, I will continue informing others of your actions and urging your supporters to cancel their membership.

With grave concern,

Comments

I find Greenpeace's position and their unwillingness to defend it deeply disturbing. If we are not to end ancient forest logging now, when?

PRESS RELEASE
Greenpeace Resists Clarion Call to "End Ancient Forest Logging"
Insists can 'protect' ancient forests while actively promoting their fist time 'certified' logging

By Ecological Internet's Climate Ark and Rainforest Portal
http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.rainforestportal.org/
July 6, 2007

Greenpeace International has confirmed astonishing allegations by Ecological Internet that they actively promote and support the logging of ancient forests, at great expense to the Earth's climate. In their statement Greenpeace acknowledges they are "committed to protecting the world’s remaining ancient forests" yet support "the FSC as the only credible global certification system." What? Has Greenpeace become certifiably insane?

Greenpeace and other logging apologists such as WWF and the Rainforest Action Network want to have it both ways: against ancient forest logging, but for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which actively logs ancient forests. This comes as FSC is accused of a string of failed and corrupt certifications from Guyana to Indonesia to Russia.

"Greenpeace says they will protect ancient forests by promoting their industrial certified logging. Given a Greenpeace staff member chairs the international Forest Stewardship Council board, one would think they would realize that a large portion of current and expected growth in FSC logging takes place in primary and old-growth forests," notes Dr. Glen Barry.

Sadly, Greenpeace yet again refuses to substantively respond to criticisms of certified logging of ancient forests. Despite years of international concern regarding their stance, Greenpeace is yet to present their scientific and experiential basis for asserting first time logging of ancient forests -- some of which are millions of years old -- protects them.

"Given concerns regarding abrupt run-away climate change and loss of terrestrial ecosystems and species, the myth of environmental responsibility of certified industrial logging of primary forests must be revealed. This approach has been tried for a decade and a half and it simply is not working. Given trends in emerging climate change impacts and soaring public concern, why not embrace the moment and call for an end to industrial ancient forest logging? This would significantly protect both life giving forests and the climate."

As the world comes together with Live Earth, proclaiming there is a climate crisis and looking for sufficient responses, environmental bureaucracies such as Greenpeace and WWF will have to do better than claiming a non-ambitious, reformist forest conservation policy will be adequate to protect our last intact large forests, to stop climate change, and to achieve global ecological sustainability.

Members of WWF, Greenpeace and other ancient forest logging apologists are encouraged to cancel their memberships. Doing otherwise means you too have ancient forest blood on your hands. Requirements for sustainability of global climate and terrestrial ecosystems demand an immediate end to ancient forest logging.

###

Ecological Internet's current action alert targeting Greenpeace for their support of ancient forest logging can be found at:
http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=greenpeace

Greenpeace's short and incomplete response is posted at:
http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2007/06/alert_greenpeace_come_clean_an.asp#comments

For more information:
Dr. Glen Barry
President
Ecological Internet, Inc.
P.O. Box 433
Denmark, WI 54208
USA
GlenBarry@EcologicalInternet.org
+1 920 776 1075 phone

Ecological Internet's projects include:
EcoEarth.Info -- http://www.EcoEarth.Info/
Climate Ark -- http://www.climateark.org/
Forests.org -- http://forests.org/
Water Conserve -- http://www.waterconserve.org/
Rainforest Portal -- http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Ocean Conserve -- http://www.oceanconserve.org/
My.EcoEarth.Info -- http://My.EcoEarth.info/

Dr. Glen Barry's personal "Earth Meanders" essays can be found at: http://earthmeanders.blogspot.com/


We are taking the liberty of displaying here in full Greenpeace's reponse to the letter-writing campaign.


Greenpeace Response

Thanks for your email. Greenpeace is committed to protecting the world’s remaining ancient forests and the plants, animals and peoples that depend on them, and is opposed to the expansion of logging or industrial-scale operations in the world’s last remaining large intact ancient forests.

Greenpeace supports the FSC as the only credible global certification system for responsible forest management and labelling of forest products. From FSC's beginning in 1993 we have been working to strengthen FSC through monitoring certifications, investigations and complaints. FSC is an adaptive system that relies on constructive feedback and complaints in order to work - we feel that this is one of it's strengths- one not shared by any other existing forest certification scheme.

For the last few months we have been researching a number of FSC certifications with a view to providing information that will strengthen the system. The research is not yet completed and is not being suppressed (preliminary findings have been presented twice to large groups of environmental NGOs). When completed later in the year a report of the research will be released. We welcome your interest in the report and encourage you to give feedback to FSC on any FSC certifications you are concerned with.

Thank goodness for this campaign against Greenpeace! My Dream is that this campaign is the first step in the beginning of the end for FSC's flimsy veil of credibility.... Never again will FSC be known as the 'conservationist' solution!

Cheers and gratitude to all who have spoken out about the failings of FSC! We still have much, much more work to do!

Be well, Deane

Dear Deane

You are extremely naïve to say the least. You do not accept the fact that the FSC system has protected more communites and ecosystems than any other system to date. Until you come up with a better solution your comments are useless. Greenpeace has fulfilled a very important role in forest management and can be complimented on this. O LEAD US TO DIVINE SUSTAINABILITY DEAREST DEANE

Peter Pan,
Perhaps you can explain to us exactly how logging ancient forests protects them? Are they still ancient forests after being logging?
Tony

Tony

If the forests are not being protected and are still logged, it is then better to bring them into the FSC fold and have them audited so the whole world can see what is going on in those areas rather than what is currently happening in the ancient and tropical forests. At the HCVF attributes must be adhered to and land must be set aside for conservation within the FMU. At least something is protected. If it is not monitored under the FSC system, then concerned individuals like you and I have no say. Rather on the radar than under the radar into the skyline!

Hello Tony, Deane and other "anti-greenpeace" people,

If you have a better solution than FSC, please put it on to the table and stop saying trash. I am very sure that 1/2 of your furniture back at home is made out of wood and most especially your beds. If logging has to stop, then where do all these furniture come from? Do you know that almost everything we use in our dailly work and daily lives, has atleast a bit wood? from common paper, to huge mansions. Where will all these come from, if logging stops? Have you ever been to a forest that is being logged? All you "office and hotel room" ecologists who have never stepped in any tropical forest or even plantation, please sit up and be realistic. LOGGING CANNOT STOP. It only has to be controlled and monitored. And so far, FSC, even with its shortcomings, is the best system so far.
If you have something better, then put it forward and stop distracting serious people.
Don't you have anything else more constructive to do?????

Dear Ali Baba

Well said!

Hear Hear!

No one has suggested logging stop. Just that it stop in ancient forests. Language is a delicate thing and should not be abused to protect narrow interests at the expense of global ecology.

What do you propose???????????????
Where else do you get the wood for your furniture from?????????
Why don't you want other economies to grow from forest revenues? which is thier main source of income????
Yes language is delicate but must be used to tell the truth and stop being mind-blocked because we are ecologists. Why must it be the ancient forests that have to pay the price of global ecology??? These countries will suffer because others have finished logging thier own forests to develop their countries!!!! Is that what you want???
Try something else please.

Dear Ali Baba

Can you please direct the readers of FSC-Watch to any credible sources of information to support your assertion that (tropical) countries benefit economically from cutting down their 'ancient forests'? I am sure we would all be very grateful to see any such information, especially any that takes into account the 'costs' of logging, partticularly to local communities.

Thanks

Simon

Simon

Your statement suggests that you know for sure that logging WILL be harmful to local communities.
You have of course taken representative samples of this idea and have the evidence thereof?
In your study how did you define a "local community" and what about the benefits to the country as a whole?

You are once again targeting the companies that are willing to be scrutinised by a thid party/FSC audit, yet your attention should be focused on the indiscriminate logging of companies that would neverbe certified. You then force people off the 'public summary" scenario and let then trade at-lib!
As an activist, this is very irresponsible of you Simon. Dont lose focus of the real issue here

Dear Peter Pan

Having been working with forest communities for 10+ years, I think I can say that I have 'taken a representative sample' of the impact of logging. At least in the countries that I am most familiar with (in the Congo Basin region), I can say with 100% certainty that, in general, communities are worse off once the loggers have been through and removed most of the value of the forest.

But more importantly, there is a growing mass of evidence from highly respected research institutions such as the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR) about this, and even the World Bank now acknowledges that industrial scale logging in countries such as Cameroon and Congo does not meet 'social or developmental objectives'. Some of this information is summarised and available in the the various contributions to the the recent Rainforest Foundation report 'Concessions to Poverty', which is available here:
http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/s-Concessions%20to%20poverty

So, as you seem so keen on objective evidence, and to repeat the question that I asked 'Ali Baba', what exactly is YOUR evidence that industrial logging does any developmental good in poor countries, or helps to improve local peoples' livelihoods?

Simon


Simon

The main thrust of my argument is that industrial logging is going to take place whether we like it or not (having been in the Congo yourself, you will ofcourse understand this). So why not have a system like the FSC to at least set a standard and let the FSC thorugh their third party audit system monitor forestry operations throughout the world.

I acknowledge the fact that all is not perfect within the FSC but to attack certain NGO's becuase they support FSC is not only stupid but irresponsible. Greenpeace have done good environmental work over the years and need to be supported. They are the one group that can move the benchmark. Or maybe you have a personal "bone" to pick with them?

Peter Pan

The assumption that "logging is going to take place whether we like it or not" is not one that I personally share. My experience from the Congo Basin - where the largest country, DRC, has had an official moratorium on the issuing of new logging concessions since 2002 - is that there is a growing feeling that alternatives to large-scale industrial logging are both possible and desirable, and could offer much stronger developmental benefits than industrial logging has ever proven to deliver.

And I think you could distinguish more between the *reporting* on this site of an attack on Greenpeace, and this site actually attacking Greenpeace, which as yet it has not done . I agree with you about Greenpeace's valuable work in campaigning to protect the environment, and I don't think anyone would seriously challange that (and I certainly don't have a personal bone to pick with them). As I understand it, the concerns are that, as a key 'stakeholder' in the FSC, it would be desirable to see Greenpeace play a more active role in making the FSC work better, and that is something which I personally share.

And, as it happens, Greenpeace has been doing particularly good work on the Congo Basin this year, where it has been campaigning strongly to stop the expansion of industrial logging.

All the best

Simon

To all above,

I own and manage a 660 ha fsc certified forest in central BC.
Management for me includes doing all aspects of forestry which unfortunatly includes cutting down trees. The Fsc standard has given me a much better 'toolkit' to make the responsible decisions as to 'WHAT' trees to cut.
After many steps, this timber is eventually sawn (by me)into an fsc labeled product. I do most of this work myself and have invested what seems a short lifetime into contributing to the success of fsc by quietly working out the bugs and fixing them and then carrying on.
I have put more time, sweatlabour, and heartache into making fsc work than any cyber junkie could ever imagine. I do this because I consider it a priviledge to manage a piece of our forestland. It certainly is not about money as I could make a lot more if I dropped my fsc and did foresty like most people do-- cut and run.
So... My question is what should I do... spend another $2500 in September for another fsc audit and stay certified or... drop fsc cause you guys are hell-bent on killing it anyhow? ps; If you respond please recommend an alternative.

Rod Blake
Woodlot 0588
FSC certified
SA-FMCOC-1243
British Columbia

Rod

The question I would put back to you is, having invested in, and presumably genuinely improved, your forestry standards in order to comply with the FSC's requirements, do you think the FSC is doing you justice by also awarding the prestigeous FSC certificate to, for example, illegal loggers in Peru, illegal loggers in Cameroon, plantation companies that have stolen land from indigenous people in Brazil, hideously environmentally damaging 'fast-wood' operations in South Africa, companies that go around shooting local peasants in Indonesia etc etc etc?

The point about all this is that such unwarranted certificates damage the credibility of the FSC as a whole, and undermine the hard work and investment that many people have made in really achieving the FSC's standards. The people who would seem to be 'hell bent on destroying the FSC' are those who are allowing FSC's reputation to be consistently tarnished and destroyed by failing to stop such egregious abuses of the FSC system. We have been pressing the FSC to take decisive action against some of the certification companies which, whilst eager to take money from their clients, mostly seem much less interested in actually upholding the FSC's standards.

If you want to ensure that your own investment in achieving FSC certification is not undermined, write to the FSC's Secretariat and Board and ask them exactly what they are doing to address their scandalously negligent lack of control over the certification companies, whose self-seeking behaviour is being allowed to threaten the entire credibility of the FSC.

All the best

Simon

Rod,

I obey the laws of my land (UK). Just because the UK contains criminals who flaunt our laws, doesn't devalue my legal contribution. Neither do the criminals (by their illegal behaviour) devalue the country. It is them that are out of step not honest people, like me. The UK have a police force who are responsible for reducing crime.

You, by remaining in the FSC will continue to do the right thing. Compliant people giving up will leave the FSC more the domain of the crooked than the honest.

So please remain in the FSC. It is a credible organisation. It needs people like you to fly the standard.

Like they say about global warming: 'If we each do a little we'll all achieve a lot'.

Hopefully the FSC will develop a 'Police force' that will weed out genuine 'FSC criminals' (as opposed to those who have certificates and still need to make progressive improvement) and websites like this will become a thing of the past.

That said however, $2500 seems like a lot for what you have received. Is there a FSC forest management group you could join rather than having a 'Stand alone' certificate?

Keep it up.

Marketal

Simon
My beef is with those people that advocate the desolution of the only process that has a chance of working, and is working in a majority of forests.
I'm doing what I do best... managing my woodlot in a responsible way.
You folks that have appointed yourselves the watchdogs should work harder at what 'YOU' obviously do best and are now trying to offload on me ...to fix the problem. It seems to me this is just a maintainace problem. When my powersaw heats up because it is plugged up with pollutants I simply clean it ...not go buy a new one.

What do you mean in 'your own INVESTMENT.. I went forward with FSC because I was approached by enviro NGO's like yourself that convinced me that this was a way of doing my part. It certainly has not been a financial success. All I want to know now is whether to continue with the certification part and whether it is still backed by the enviro community...It certainly does'nt take Fsc certification to manage a forest in a responsible way. 'People' manage forests not certification systems.

ps; thanks for the support 'Marketal'

Rod Blake
Woodlot 0588

Rod

Who exactly are these people that you say "advocate the desolution" of the FSC?

As to whether you should continue with certification, my answer would also be 'yes', but as I was suggesting before, if you place any real value in the FSC system, then you and other like-minded people are probably going to have to do something to defend it against the growing number and dominance of 'rogue elements' within it.

You can accuse me of trying to 'offload' the FSC's problems on to you if you want, but that won't help the FSC get fixed - like your chainsaw, it'll just carry on running with more and 'pollutants' inside it until, finally, it'll just seize-up altogether. Then we will have no choice but to "go and buy a new one".

And whatever else more FSC-Watch could do 'fix' the FSC system, stakeholders such as Greenpeace have a much bigger influence and role to play (especially as they currently Chair the whole organisation). So I assume you are agreeing with those people who are campaigning for Greenpeace to play a more active role in 'saving' the FSC? (which is exactly where this discussion thread started)

All the best

Simon

Simon

To be honest, I think that your fight is against globalisation and not Greenpeace or the FSC and unfortunately there are many people like Rod who can get burned in the process.

Maybe you should re-think your headlines and highlights and actually consider what you are saying and to whom?


Guess I hit the nail on the head!

Over and out

Peter Pan

You are entitled to think what you want: I for my part am still awaiting a response from you to the questions I posed to you in the previous comment.

Guess I hit the nail on the head.

Over and out.



Greenpeace has become a the nasty grease that run the gears of a greedy self serving corporation.

No compromise for solution nor donation is ever enough for them!

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