The outcome of Greenpeace's complaint against Congolese logging company SODEFOR, announced by the FSC on March 23rd, will probably not please the complainants very much, but it once again has served to highlight some of the glaring weaknesses in the FSC system.
As we have previously reported, the complaint against SODEFOR's certificate dates back to April 2011, but by the time Greenpeace had lodged their appeal, the certificate had already been withdrawn by the certifier, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood...[Continue]
Things only get worse for the FSC in Africa. Following the cancellation of the biggest certificate in Cameroon (SFEAC), the partial cancellation of the biggest certificate in Republic of Congo and sale of its holder (CIB) to a palm oil trader, now comes news that the high profile and largest certificate in the Democratic Republic of Congo has also been struck from FSC's register of certified operations.
As the Greenpeace press release below reports, the Swiss-owned Danzer Group has sold its subsidiary SIFORCO, one of Africa's largest logging companies, to the US-based Groupe Blattner Elwyn...[Continue]
In June of this year, we reported on the shocking atrocities against local communities happening in two FSC 'Controlled Wood' certified logging operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of the two companies concerned, SODEFOR, had, by the time we reported, already had its certificate 'suspended', and was the subject of a formal complaint submitted by Greenpeace. The other, SIFORCO, remains certified (by SGS) to this day, but has also recently had a complaint filed against it by Greenpeace...[Continue]
In a recent posting, we reported on the sale of FSC's flagship certified logging company in Africa, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), to the Singapore-based Olam Group, which describes itself as a "global leader in agricultural products and food ingredients". Amongst Olam's activities elsewhere in the world is production and processing of palm oil, so it came as little surprise to some when the company recently indicated, only five months after acquiring CIB's massive forest assets in northern Congo, that it was interesting in 'diversifying' CIB's production to include various crops such as palm oil, cacao and soya...[Continue]
Certification in any of the countries in the Congo Basin was always going to stretch the credibility of the FSC system to the limit - as the miserable experiences in Cameroon of companies such as SEFAC and Wijma have shown (the former of which remains 'suspended' for forest management but, illogically, still certified for Chain of Custody). Sadly, because the FSC is unable to control its certifiers, these lessons seem not to have been learned; allowing its certifiers to issue certificates in DR Congo was always bound to end in disaster...[Continue]
Nothing encapsulates the dismal weaknesses of the FSC system quite as well as the case of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) - which for many years has been FSC's flagship certified logging operation in Africa.
Much has been written about CIB, which has been one of the most controversial logging operations anywhere in the tropics. Critics have questioned whether the company should qualify for certification right across the sweep of FSC's requirements - its environmental and social impact, and its economic sustainability. Now it seems that its claim to sustainability in all three areas has unravelled, raising further serious questions about how the company could ever have been certified in the first place...[Continue]
On the eve of its 2011 General Assembly, FSC is facing a barrage of criticism as a result of failing to deal with the multiple problems that it has been presented with over the last decade. The growing sense amongst members, and especially NGOs, is that time has run out. Another of FSC's key NGO supporters has already recently quit.
This is the first in a series of special postings that will appear in the run-up to the Assembly. The article originally appeared in "All Africa".
Hilaire Avril 8 June 2011
Paris - "Eco-label fatigue" is setting in as green logging certification schemes are undermining proper government management of forest resources while "greenwashing" private ownership of these public resources, critics say...[Continue]
A new research paper (see abstract below) on the behavioural patterns of forest elephants has dealt a major blow to the myth of 'sustainable logging' in the rainforests of the Congo Basin. One of the areas specifically referred to in the paper as being negatively impacted is covered by the concessions of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) that is currently being 'pre-assessed' for FSC certification by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood.
CIB has already gained FSC certification for two of its five concessions in northern Republic of Congo, which together cover 1.3 million hectares of once pristine rainforest...[Continue]
Back in December 2006, we reported on the curious announcement by German multinational timber company, Danzer, about its intention to 'cooperate' with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in order to get its massive Congolese logging operations FSC certified. Less than two years ago, Per Rosenberg, Director of WWF's Global Forest and Trade Network gushingly proclaimed that "We believe that the cooperation between WWF and Danzer represents an important shift towards responsible forestry for some of the world's most threatened forests in the Congo Basin...[Continue]
In September 2006, WWF and the large German tropical logging company Danzer issued the joint press release below, announcing Danzer’s intention to obtain FSC certification. The announcement stated that Danzer’s operations in the Republic of Congo were ‘scheduled’ to be certified in 2008, whilst the larger concessions in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would be certified in 2010.
This is curious for several reasons. Firstly, it assumes that Danzer’s compliance with the FSC’s Principles and Criteria is a foregone conclusion, and merely a matter of ‘scheduling’ the certification...[Continue]