On 13 March 2008, SGS Qualifor awarded an FSC certificate for Veracel's monoculture eucalyptus plantations in Bahia, Brazil. WRM announced that this was FSC's "Death Certificate".
In 2010, two Belgian journalists, Leopold Broers and An-Katrien Lecluyse, spent three months investigating the impact of Veracel's monoculture eucalyptus plantations on local communities. They made a documentary, titled, "Sustainable on Paper", based on interviews carried out in Bahia and Belgium:
Broers and Lecluyse listened not only to the company's point of view, but spent time finding out what local communities think about the project...[Continue]
The article describes the growing consensus that the "Swedish model" of forestry is failing to protect biodiversity, and old growth forests continue to be clear-cut, including those with FSC certification. With 10 million hectares certified, or 45% of its total forest, Sweden has one of the largest areas of FSC certified logging...[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]
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]
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]
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]
A new film documents the problems with FSC. FSC-Watch will be posting several articles about this over the next few days. Meanwhile, here is FERN's description of the film in EU Forest Watch, January 2011. Below that is a trailer for the film.
'Sustainable on Paper'
Despite some plantations in Brazil being Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, they are nevertheless beset by problems. This is well-described in the film 'Sustainable on Paper' by freelance journalists Leo Broers and An-Katrien Lecluyse opening in Ghent, Belgium, 24 January 2011.
Using the example of Brazilian-Scandinavian transnational Veracel, the film documents why many FSC-certified tree plantations are controversial...[Continue]
A new report, published jointly by Rap-Al Uruguay and Rel-UITA looks at tree plantation workers and agrotoxic spraying. The research was carried out on plantations operated by FOSA (Forestal Oriental S.A.), a transnational company that is owned by UPM (formerly Botnia) and which is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
An article based on the report was published in last month's WRM Bulletin: