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...[Continue]

The timber may be certified: but is it sustainable?Tags: Cameroon, Brazil, Absence of national standards, All certifiers

The headline comes from a recent post on CIFOR's Forest Blog. CIFOR is the Centre for International Forestry Research. The blog post is based on research by one of CIFOR's scientists, Paolo Omar Cerutti, who was lead author of a recent paper published in Forest Policy and Economics: Legal vs...[Continue]

Scandales dans la famille Forest Stewardship CouncilTags: Worldwide, Certifier conflict of interest, Plantations, Mixed sources labelling, All certifiers

(This posting is reproduced from a article in the Courrier de la Planète.)

Ce texte est extrait d'une interview donnée par Simon Counsell au site Mongabay.com le 17 avril 2008. Cette interview faisait suite à celle de Nina Haase, responsable de la communication du Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), publiée sur le même site dix jours plus tôt et réalisée en réponse aux nombreuses critiques formulées à l'encontre du système de certification FSC...[Continue]

FSC and the Lacey Act: the $500,000 questionTags: Worldwide, Controlled wood, Mixed sources labelling, Legality, All certifiers

In May 2008, the US government enacted a revision to the Lacey Act, a hundred year-old piece of legislation that renders it illegal to trade in goods in the US which are from illegal sources, which now makes the Act applicable to the timber trade. Whilst timber traders are no doubt hoping that use of FSC certified wood is going to keep them out of prison, they may be in for a nasty shock.

This year's revision to the Act came about through a long lobbying campaign by US environmental groups, who were also joined by the US wood industry and labour organisations in seeking to exclude illegally acquired wood from outside the US...[Continue]

Hard-up certifier seeks job 'on the side'Tags: Worldwide, Certifier conflict of interest, All certifiers, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Up until a few years ago, FSC's accredited certifiers were prohibited from certifying for other forest certification schemes, because of the obvious conflict of interest that this would represent. But, as has been the way of things in the FSC, such a ban represented an obstacle to the increase of the certifiers' profits, and was therefore duly done away with. (One of the more bizarre justifications offered for this profound weakening of the FSC's rules, from the now Chair of FSC's Board, Grant Rosoman, was that, if the certifiers were prohibited from 'moonlighting' for other schemes, then they would simply set up nominally separate organisations to get around this rule...[Continue]

Sweden - "major violations against the FSC standard"Tags: Sweden, Certifier conflict of interest, All certifiers, SGS Qualifor

Launching an appeal to help save Sweden's remaining old-growth forests, the NGO network Skydda Skogen (Protect the Forest) has said that "major violations against the FSC standard are made by FSC-certified forest companies in Sweden." In its website, Skydda Skogen goes on to say:

"Many of the Swedish forest companies are certified by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) but researches made by Swedish NGOs show that major violations against the FSC standard are made by the companies...[Continue]

Reforming the FSC by Competitive TenderingTags: Worldwide, Certifier conflict of interest, All certifiers

One the major structural problems that seems to underlie much of what is going wrong in the FSC is that contracts for certification assessments are arranged directly between logging companies and the FSC's accredited certifiers. Because of this - and especially because the award of a certificate will ensure future profits for the certifiers from monitoring and re-assessments - certifiers have a strong financial incentive to award certificates even when the logging company does not comply with the FSC's Principles and Criteria.

Another consequence is that certifiers are effectively competing with each other to show that they are the most likely to award a certificate - and the way that they do this is by lowering their assessment standards, 'turning a blind eye' to any major problems that they find, or taking a very 'sympathetic' view towards the company under scrutiny...[Continue]

South African NGOs renew call for suspension of plantation certificates: "massive cost to the environment"Tags: South Africa, Plantations, All certifiers

The following Open Letter to David Nahwegahbow, Chair of the Forest Stewardship Council, has been submitted by Philip Owen of Geasphere .

Re: Certification of Industrial Timber Plantations in South Africa

Dear Mr. David Nahwegahbow

I look to you for guidance and advice. I represent a organization opposed to the further expansion of Industrial Timber Plantations (ITP's)in Southern Africa and elsewhere.

We firmly believe that ITP's comes at a massive cost to the natural and social environment, and that these costs have not been quantified...[Continue]

The joke that is FSC's 'Controlled Wood Standard': the laundry is open for businessTags: Worldwide, Mixed sources labelling, Controlled wood, Legality, All certifiers

One of the more controversial of FSC's policies has been the 'Mixed Sources' policy, which allows manufactured products such as plywood, paper and furniture to be labelled as 'FSC' even though the amount of wood fibre from FSC-certified sources is actually as little as 10% of the total wood material in the poroduct.

Quite apart from the fact that such 'Mixed Sources'-labelled products are likely to be seriously misleading to the consumer (following recent changes to FSC's rules, the product labels no longer even have to say how much of the product is actually from FSC-certfied sources), there is also the question of 'what about the remaining uncertified material'? Some FSC members have been warning for years that, in the absence of any meaningful controls, there is a real risk that Mixed Sources products would become a way of 'laundering' wood from unacceptable sources into FSC-labelled products...[Continue]

FSC vs PEFC: Holy cows vs the Emperor's new clothesTags: All certifiers

One of the reasons I am involved in this website is that I believe that many people are aware of serious problems with FSC, but don't discuss them publicly because the alternative to FSC is even worse. The alternative, in this case is PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) and all the other certification schemes (Cerflor, Certflor, the Australian Forestry Standard, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council and so on). One person has suggested that we should set up PEFC-Watch, in order "to be even-handed".

The trouble with this argument is that PEFC et al have no credibility...[Continue]

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