An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

NORFOR, Spain: FSC confirms that SGS certfied a non-compliant companyTags: Spain, SGS Qualifor

At the end of last year, FSC-Watch reported on the certification of the Galician plantation company, NORFOR. The company has been the source of much controversy and opposition from local people. Following an investigation into NORFOR's certifier, SGS, FSC's own Accreditation Services International has now reported that environmental concerns were justified, and that the company was non-compliant with FSC's Principles and Criteria.

FSC-ASI undertook its inspection of SGS's certificate in May of this year. It resulted in SGS being issued with three Major Corrective Action Requests, which could result in SGS's suspension from FSC if not complied with, because:

In addition, 6 Minor Corrective Action Requests were issued against SGS, including that they issued a certificate to a company that was not carrying out the legally required Environmental Impact Assessments and was allowing invasive species to spread, and that SGS's certification assessment used the wrong methodology.

FSC-Watch is encouraged that FSC-ASI is increasingly targeting poor practices by the accredited FSC certifiers, and is making its reports publicly available. However, the mere issuing of CARs against recalcitrant certifiers such as SGS does not seem to be having the desired effect of stopping innappropriate certificates from happening in the first place. Whilst it has proven to be non-compliant with the Principles and Critieria, the certificate nevertheless remains in place, which means that FSC is knowingly misleading consumers about the products emanating from this company.

We believe that FSC-ASI needs to be given greater powers to immediately suspend certificates and certifiers which are not compliant with FSC's P&C.

The FSC-ASI report on SGS's certification of NORFOR is available here.


The SGS assestment was a huge fraud. Their reports are full of lies and mistakes. The audit was conducted in a incompetent and no profesional way. NORFOR refused during three years to publish a summary of the management plan (they didn`t have) and the geographic coordenates of their eucaliptus plantations stands. In this conditions it was impossible to achive a real stakeholders consultation. All the process was an absolute fraud¡¡¡.

But ASI didn`t cancell the acreditation SGS.

After Guayana and Polonia (maybe Uganda...) Norfor case shows that SGS is a cancer inside FSC. And ASI didn`t consider SGS failure as a real problem.

Renato Pisuerga
Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain.

The ASI public summary isn’t better than the SGS public summaries on NORFOR certification. ASI forgot a lot of environmental and social nonfulfilments of FSC criteria denounced by stakeholders, also, they considered as minor important environmental matters. ASI seems be a bureaucratic shield against come up the reclamations to maintain the certificates.
Really SGS is a cancer, but FSC is the metastasis.

Benito Andrade

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