An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Friends of the Earth EWNI: "FSC not recommended"Tags: Worldwide, Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FoE EWNI) has confirmed that it no longer recognises the value of FSC certificates. FoE EWNI's website is now advising that FoE EWNI "is deeply concerned by the number of FSC certifications that are now sparking controversy and threatening the credibility of the scheme. We cannot support a scheme that fails to guarantee high environmental and social standards. As a result we can no longer recommend the FSC standard".

Friends of the Earth England and Wales pioneered timber certification during the 1980s and was one of FSC's founders.

FoE EWNI's website does state that "FSC certification is the strongest available standard for new wood" and that the FSC's certifications have "improved forestry standards". However, FoE EWNI's lead in publicly stating its loss of confidence in the FSC is likely soon to be followed by criticism from other NGOs. Greenpeace is expected shortly to publish the report 'Holding the Line', its long-awaited investigation into numerous controversial FSC certificates. Several other European NGOs such as FERN are understood to be preparing a critical 'statement' to be delivered to the FSC's forthcoming General Assembly in Cape Town. FSC will receive a hostile reception in South Africa from local NGOs, which have been campaigning for the de-certification of numerous non-compliant industrial plantation companies operating in their country.

FSC's recently appointed Executive Director, Andrei de Freitas, now faces a mammoth task reversing the catastrophic legacy he has been handed by previous director, Heiko Liedeker. The international board, similarly suffering from years of ineffectiveness, will now have to give de Freitas a clear mandate to urgently clean the organisation up. FSC-Watch believes that, in order to restore confidence, they will have to break the direct financial link between certifiers and their clients, reverse the 'race to the bottom' of certification standards, and take decisive action against certifiers such as SGS, WoodMark and Rainforest Alliance which issue certificates to non-compliant forestry companies. The November General Assembly may be the organisation's last chance for survival.

Update (29 October 2008): This article has been amended to clarify that FoE International is a federation of national organisations. Some of these support FSC and are members. Other FoE groups are either not members or openly criticise FSC. FoE International is not a member of FSC.


How interesting that FoE is finally begining to see the cracks in the crackpot organisation that is FSC. Our planet is actually dying because of the years of abuse we have subjected it to - poisoning it, polluting it, destroying entire ecosystems for the sake of cheap toilet paper and some staionery. fingers crossed that the new Executive Director will have a heart, and not just a cash machine where his heart should be.


depressing???? I didnt here right? Or You mean, that only now and not 15 Year ago, FoE leave the FSC! Congratulations FoE.
I am extrem happy, now start that the FSC get cool and poor. However, lets give this fraud Primaryforstkillingmashine and friends of Klondesert the last shot.
lets open a little champus!

This is indeed wonderful news, but not before time. I understand Friends of the Earth EWNI have had such a declaration on their own agenda for some years now but preferred a European approach over a unilateral one as being more effective.

So come on Greenpeace and especially WWF, who were once champions of the rainforest! Nail your colours to the mast along with FOE and prove it's not yellow!!!!! We are well past the stage of political correctness and need brave hearts to protect what is left of our global forests.

Thank heavens for the Rainforest Foundation who have throughout their existence provided stalwart, financial political, and practical help to the forests and their people.

"FoE England's website is now advising" - well it seems they have done so since March 2008, if you read carefully. Where is the news in this? Happy for clarification.

However, I agree with most of the critisism of FSC. There are severe problems that has to be adressed immedeately, especially the economic links between certifiers and certified companies.

It's heartening to see yet another organisation take an intelligent stand for the forests. I wonder how long it will take 'radical' groups like Greepeace to come back to the fold?

Supporting primary forest destruction should not be supported by environmental orgainisations. As it stands, Greenpeace and WWF do.

David Nickarz

Let’s open our mouths! Let’s sing with Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. “Time to say goodbye” (http://de.youtube.com/results?search_query=Time+to+say+goodbye&search_type=&aq=f) for the FSC. I really hope we’ll never see again.
Oh, by the way: thank you for destroying millions of hektars from primary forests.
Thank you for lying about the sustainability for the environment and not to the pocket…
Thank you. Thank you very much for the badest example of sustainable system. Lets offer him a prize "the last tree" valid with a wooden hammer.

There will be a public conference from FSC on 23.10.2008 in Bonn (Germany).These of you who come from Germany (or who live near to Germany) I want to invite "in the name of FSC". it’s general for public access! Seems for the FSC an significantly conference

The subjects, the conference is about, are “Woodtrading and public procurement”.
Have a look on http://www.fsc-deutschland.de/dokumente/Einladung_Holzforum.pdf.
I’m in a really stupid “conflict” with the president of FSC Germany, Uwe Sayer, who forbids me to come to this congress. He wants to ban my opinion: FSC isn’t a really good system.
He wants to ban my attac on FSC.
I’ll try to post this complete “dialogue” between me and Mr. Sayer, as soon as possible, in this forum.
You can also send me an email and I’ll send the german version to you.

Let’s see what the FSC has to say in public…
I asked the FCS gGmbH leader, Mr. Freitas, to give me some answers on my questions, before the congress starts.
And I want some people to take some critical flyers about the subject FSC to the visitors, in front of the “congress hall”.
Before the congress starts: Let’s push them up!

But one of our main assignments is the protection of the primaryforests!
Now it seems to be our turn to start another, more serious system of forest-certification sheme.

No primaryforest-logging, no gen-desert (plantation-) plantings under the Word: "sustainable".Maybe its necessary, but never sustainable. And of course without the hand of the wood-industry who say us what we have to do.

I hate these labels, but for the political system it’s very important.
And we can’t let PEFC, MTCC and all the other fraud “sustainable” certification-systems stand on their own.

How do you think about starting a forum here, or maybe somewhere else, about a new system? Its time to act!

Here is my exactly twenty years old requirement for you, maybe it’s a start:

1.the botanical names of the species
2.the trade name
3.the country of origin
4.the climatic region (boreal, temperate, subtropical, tropical)
5.the forest management- form (primary forest, forest, monoculture, plantation)

This labelling is only useful when it preinstructed PER International LAW!
But it’s only a start-opinion. And we have to see what’s going on…
Together with, maybe, a special “Wikiwoodia”? I don’t know, really!
Seems to start a hard time to work....

I am surprised you have not covered the major campaign by Ecological Internet against RAN which has again flared up. Are you selectively watching FSC, or only things that match your agenda.

ALERT: As Rainforest Action Network Prepares to "Revel", What Has Become of Their Old Growth Forest Campaign?


There is no chance of achieving global ancient forest protection, climate stabilization and ecological sustainability until RAN and other ancient forest logging apologists follow Friends of the Earth in withdrawing from the Forest Stewardship Council and uniting to work to end ancient forest logging

RAN supports ancient forest loggingTAKE ACTION! Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is one of a shrinking group of international environmental NGOs that supports industrial logging of ancient primary and old-growth forests by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) [search]. Sadly, as RAN prepares to gather for their annual lavish, celebrity studded "Revel" fund-raiser, there is little to celebrate regarding their disjointed and harmful Old Growth Campaign -- legitimate questions regarding their FSC support have been stonewalled, Ontario's continued ancient forest destruction legitimized, and the forest protection movement needlessly divided. Last week Friends of the Earth (FoE) became the first major international NGO to confirm they no longer support FSC certification; which falsely suggests primary and old-growth forest logging is desirable, benefits the climate, and is even sustainable; and that plantations are forests. RAN must stop supporting outdated, destructive logging. The following alert lets Revel's many sponsors know they are funding greenwashing of ancient forest devastation -- and asks that RAN immediately review and cease their support for destruction of centuries old ancient trees and their ecosystems. Please note, there are two different protest emails to send. TAKE ACTION!

There is also a long and at times funny and defensive conversation regarding the alert at:

If an "endorsement" is withdrawn, or an "alert" issued in the middle of a forest with no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Thanks Matt for your comment. Just in case you haven't seen it, RAN is now reviewing its support of FSC: http://tinyurl.com/62d9sr

We reported Ecological Internet's previous campaign against RAN, here: http://tinyurl.com/65z84c. You're right, we probably should have posted something about the latest action. Thanks again for the comment and the links.

So, who do they recommend? PEFC? Or should we go back to illegally traded wood? Or should the world grind to a halt while we all contemplate our navels and wait for perfection....

We call it as we see it, Mark. In Manitoba, FSC has made it worse for our forests. I'm not going to watch them clear cut primary Boreal Forest, destroy endangered Woodland Caribou habitat and use pesticides just for the flimsy, fraudulent certification scheme that should have been laid to permanent rest years ago.

I'm glad you brought up the issue of illegal timber, Mark. Unfortunately, we never left illegally traded wood. Every year, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency, the UK imports £700 million worth of illegal timber (http://tinyurl.com/56v5zc). EIA is currently running a campaign against these imports. They are calling on the UK government to bring in legislation to prohibit illegal timber from entering UK markets. They are not trying to stop illegal timber by trying to persuade everyone who ever buys wood in the UK to buy FSC certified timber.

What a great victory (not). While a small group of technically focussed campaigners greet an ideological victory against certification, the poor old consumer who buys the wood that a lot of people have worked for years to trace on their behalf will once again be abandoned by groups that should be helping to empower shoppers. So what do we say now - don't buy wood, consume less, campaign for the rights of the forest people? This all correct, but people won't do it. They either don't understand or that kind of advice does not appeal. Far better I would say to remain in the FSC and seek to improve it from within. Wrecking the only half decent mechanism we have does not seem like a sensible strategy to me.

The poor old consumer was long ago abandoned by the FSC, which has instead decided to act as a marketing device for the timber industry and a source of easy profits for a small group of certification companies.

I presume you don't believe that the consumer should continue to be misled into thinking he or she is buying an environmentally acceptable product, when clearly this is not the case with many FSC certified products, just in order to protect the reputation of the FSC, do you?

As far as I can see, environmental groups have done everything they can 'on the inside' for the last 10 years - and it simply hasn't worked.

Time to bail out, save the reputation of the environmental movement, leave the FSC to it's own mess. When it gets itself sorted out, perhaps it will be worthy of environmentalist support once again.

Well done Friends of the Earth for taking the bold step that it has done.

There is nothing half decent about FSC. It's greenwashing of the worst kind and has set back forest conservation for years to come.

An early divorce in what could have been a strong working relationship, and I am left wondering what FoE hope to gain from this.

Eco-labelling is one of the only market tools we have which functions within the conflicting social forces of a consumer society and sustainability.

Whilst recognizing that the practical application of this is not always straightforward, it is vital that we encourage increased public participation and the communication of information about environmental problems. By abandoning the FSC, FoE are also abandoning their aim of pursuing the fundamental social shift in consumer culture which is so badly needed.

It would be far more beneficial for FoE to use their skills and expertise to help develop a model for an eco-labelling system that is both rigorous and transparent and to ensure that the political interests do not outweigh the scientific ones.

Any updates on this?
I'm interested in buying certified wood furniture, but would like to be be sure if I can trust FSC. What about PEFC?
Is it not better to encourage these movements even though they're not perfect as opposed to burying non-certified wood?

Forest Stewardship Council – Wikipedia – Enzyklopädie

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