FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

A chance to ask FSC's Director of Strategic Development some questionsTags: Certifier conflict of interest, FSC strategy, All certifiers

On Wednesday, 26 February 2014, Ian Hanna, FSC International's Director of Strategic Development, will be interviewed by triplepundit.com.

On its website, triplepundit.com explains that Hanna will be talking about FSC's goals:

Goal 1: Advance globally responsible forest management
Goal 2: Ensure equitable access to the benefits of FSC systems
Goal 3: Ensure integrity, credibility and transparency of the FSC system
Goal 4: Create business value for products from FSC certified forests
Goal 5: Strengthen the global network to deliver on goals 1 through 4

Triplepundit.com adds that,

Hanna will address these goals and concepts, and much more, in his interview. If you have questions you’d like to see addressed, please leave a comment on this post.

So far, no one has left any comments. Which is a pity. This seems to me like a good opportunity to ask FSC International a few questions. So here are a few to start the ball rolling. This is a far from complete list and FSC-Watch encourages others to leave their questions on triplepundit.com's website, with a copy in the comments below this post.

A few questions for Ian Hanna, Director of Strategic Development at FSC International:

  1. In order to get certified, companies need to be assessed by one of FSC's certifying bodies. The assessment is paid for by the companies. Obviously, the certifying bodies have an interest in not raising too many obstructions to certification. This issue has been raised repeatedly with FSC (for example in 2002 in the Rainforest Foundation UK report "Trading in Credibility"). Why has FSC not addressed this conflict of interest at the heart of the FSC system?
  2. A recent paper published in Nature found no difference in carbon emissions between FSC certified logging operations and non-certified logging operations in East Kalimantan:

    We found that concessions certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC, N = 3), when compared with noncertified concessions (N = 6), did not have lower overall CO2 emissions from logging activity (felling, skidding, and hauling).

    Please explain the implications of the findings of this report for FSC, particularly for FSC's certification of forest carbon projects.

  3. FSC certifies monoculture industrial tree plantations. One of the most controversial of these is a pulp company called Veracel in Bahia, Brazil. On its website, FSC lists this as a "closed dispute", but as a September 2013 World Rainforest Movement report reveals, the dispute on the ground in Bahia is very much ongoing.

  4. Recently FSC withdrew certification of Swedwood Karelia, a subsidiary of IKEA. The company was logging old-growth forests in the north of Russian Karelia. Swedish NGOs Protect the Forest and Friends of the Earth Sweden took out a complaint with FSC about Swedwood Karelia's logging operations in September 2011. What area of old-growth forest was logged between FSC becoming aware of the problem and the withdrawal of the certificate more than two years later?
  5. How can FSC claim that FSC-certified logging operations are legal given the following:

    • the certifying body that conducts the assessment is paid for by the logging company;

    • the certifying body only assesses the logging operation once a year; and

    • the certifying body makes an appointment before turning up to check on the company's operations?

  6. Greenpeace describes the FSC system as "At Risk" and notes that “many of the FSC’s on-the-ground performance criteria are either weak, under threat of being weakened, or not properly implemented”. For five years, Greenpeace has been providing constructive criticism and making recommendations on how FSC can maintain its credibility. Greenpeace's most recent FSC Progress Report (October 2013) reveals that little progress. Why is FSC reacting so slowly to Greenpeace's recommendations?

Comments

"So far, no one has left any comments." Apart from me, that is. I've just posted my questions on the triplepundit website. Look forward to seeing others doing the same.

Chris I think there is a mistake with the date here. Its actually Feb 26 not April 26 isn't it? The more questions for FSC directors the better I say.

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