FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

New Forests Company plantation in Uganda - FSC files a complaint against itselfTags: Uganda, Plantations, Accreditation controls, ASI, SGS Qualifor

The FSC sank to new levels of farce this week with a decision that in effect means that the organisation has lodged a complaint against itself.

As we reported a week ago an investigation by Oxfam has revealed that the FSC-certified New Forests Company in Uganda has been responsible for eviction of 22,500 people from their land. In addition to the video news piece about Oxfam's report produced by the Guardian, Al Jazeera TV also reported on the evictions, including interviews with Kate Geary of Oxfam and Robert Devereux, the Chairman of New Forests Company...[Continue]

Oxfam report: 22,500 people evicted to make way for FSC certified plantations in UgandaTags: Uganda, Carbon offsets, Plantations, Accreditation controls, SGS Qualifor

On 22 September 2011, Oxfam released a report about a UK-based company called New Forests. Oxfam's researchers visited the company's plantations in Uganda and found that more than 22,000 people were kicked off the land to make way for the company's monocultures. Oxfam made public what FSC's certifying body, SGS, had somehow managed to ignore for the past two years. Accreditation Services International (ASI) in turn found out nothing about the evictions when it carried out an audit of SGS in 2010. New Forests Company has put out a statement explaining that it "takes Oxfam’s allegations extremely seriously and will conduct an immediate and thorough investigation"...[Continue]

Uganda: Villagers petition lands minister to stop FSC-certified company from evicting themTags: Uganda, Plantations, SGS Qualifor

On 25 May 2009, SGS Qualifor issued an FSC certificate to New Forest Company for its plantations in Uganda. Less than two months later, more than 10,000 villagers petitioned the lands minister to stop New Forest Company from evicting them from their homes. They accused armed groups of beating people, abducting them and destroying their crops and houses. Below are two articles about New Forest Company, one from the Ugandan newspaper, New Vision and one from World Rainforest Movement...[Continue]

Thousands of Indigenous People evicted from FSC-certified Mount Elgon National Park, UgandaTags: Uganda, Indigenous Peoples, Hoped-for improvements, SGS Qualifor

In 2007, SGS Qualifor certified Mount Elgon National Park as "well managed" under the FSC system. Accreditation Services International found that SGS Qualifor's certification was based on hoped for future improvements, rather than what was actually happening in the National Park. ASI, however, failed to take any meaningful action against SGS Qualifor.

In February 2008, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the agency responsible for managing Uganda's national parks, evicted more than 4,000 people from the indigenous Benet and Ndorobo communities living in Mount Elgon National Park...[Continue]

FACE Foundation makes misleading claims about FSCTags: Uganda, Misleading claims, Carbon offsets, SGS Qualifor

The FACE Foundation, a Dutch carbon offset company, claims on its website that its tree planting projects at Mount Elgon and Kibale national parks in Uganda are both certified by FSC. While Mount Elgon is FSC certified (despite major, ongoing land disptues), the FACE Foundation's project at Kibale is no longer FSC certified...[Continue]

Accreditation Services International: A watchdog with neither bark nor biteTags: Uganda, Accreditation controls, Corrective Action Requests, SGS Qualifor

Last year, Accreditation Services International (ASI) discovered that SGS's certification of Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda was based on hoped for future improvements, rather than what was actually happening in the National Park. ASI, however, failed to take any meaningful action against SGS.

FSC certification requires that the company certified complies with FSC's Principles and Criteria, at the time the certificate is issued. This is fundamental to the credibility of the FSC system.

In April 2007, ASI carried out an annual audit of SGS at Mount Elgon in Uganda...[Continue]

Human rights abuses, land conflicts, broken promises – the reality of carbon 'offset' projects in UgandaTags: Uganda, SGS Qualifor

World Rainforest Movement recently published a report I wrote with Timothy Byakola of the Ugandan NGO Climate Development Initiatives, about an FSC-certified carbon sink project at Mount Elgon in Uganda. The report, "'A funny place to store carbon': UWA-FACE Foundation's tree planting project in Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda", includes a section on the SGS-Qualifor certification of the project.

Under the project, which is funded by a Dutch organisation called the FACE Foundation, trees are planted to absorb carbon and the carbon is sold to people who want to offset their carbon emissions through flying...[Continue]

FSC fails to uphold Indigenous Rights at Mount Elgon, UgandaTags: Uganda, SGS Qualifor

Since 1994, a Dutch organisation called the FACE Foundation has been planting trees in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda. The FACE Foundation aims to sell carbon credits based on the amount of carbon stored in the trees planted. FACE aims to plant a total of 25,000 hectares of which 8,500 hectares has been planted.

In Uganda, the FACE Foundation works with the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA), the organisation responsible for managing Uganda's National Parks.

In March 2002, SGS Qualifor certified the UWA-FACE project under the FSC system...[Continue]