FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

FSC's new plan to launder wood from deforestationTags: Worldwide, Controlled wood, Plantations

It's official: the FSC is now setting out to use its grotesque Controlled (sic) Wood Policy in order to 'launder' wood from areas experiencing recent deforestation into the FSC certified wood supply chain.

Under the FSC's current rules, areas of natural forest that have been cut down and converted into industrial tree plantations later than 1994 cannot be FSC certified. This important 'safeguard' has been a source of annoyance to the plantation industry (which has been strongly represented on the Board of FSC), as well as large scale pulp and paper companies, which would like to see the restriction removed - in such a way that, in effect, wood from almost any plantation anywhere in the world could be FSC certified, regardless of whether it had been the cause of large-scale or recent deforestation...[Continue]

FSC Complaints Panel says organisation 'needs to control certifiers better': SmartWood "undermines" the FSCTags: Democratic Republic of Congo, Controlled wood, Complaints procedures, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

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dates back to April 2011, but by the time Greenpeace had lodged their appeal, the certificate had already been withdrawn by the certifier, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood...[Continue]

SIFORCO in DR Congo: the continuing bloodstain on the FSC and its 'Controlled Wood' policyTags: Democratic Republic of Congo, Controlled wood, Greenpeace, Complaints procedures, Policy of Association, SGS Qualifor

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]

What FSC, Greenpeace and Environmental Investigation Agency have to say about Rainforest Alliance's $390,000 'gifts' from GibsonTags: USA, Controlled wood, Greenpeace, EIA, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Gibson Guitars: where have all the fleas come from?Tags: USA, Controlled wood, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

In one of the political blogs still commenting on the US Fish and Wildlife Service's second raid on Gibson Guitars for possible contraventions of the Lacey Act, Republican pundit Andrew M. Langer, berating Gibson for "consorting with environmentalists", refers to an old saying that "if you lie down with dogs be prepared to get up with fleas"...[Continue]

Gibson Guitars fiasco raises new questions about integrity of Rainforest AllianceTags: USA, Legality, Tropical Forest Trust, Controlled wood, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

The raiding of Gibson Guitars in Tennessee in August by US Federal Fish and Wildlife officials for suspected violations of the Lacey Act - which forbids US companies from importing wood obtained from illegal sources - has once again cast a very hard light on the FSC system, and in particular on the Rainforest Alliance, whose SmartWood scheme is the FSC's most prolific issuer of FSC certificates. An October 2nd article (which we reproduce in full below), published in the 'Tennessean' newspaper, has opened new revelations about the relationship between Gibson and the Alliance, which sound loud alarm bells about the 'independence' of the certifier...[Continue]

SIFORCO in DR Congo: nice certificates, shame about the arrests, beatings, burning and rapesTags: Democratic Republic of Congo, Controlled wood, Mixed sources labelling, SGS Qualifor, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

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]

"Latvia's pulp fiction": AlJazeera programme on FSC and destructive logging in LatviaTags: Latvia, Corrective Action Requests, High Conservation Value Forests, Hoped-for improvements, Suspended certificates, Controlled wood, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

A programme this week on AlJazeera's People and Power reports on destructive logging in Latvia - including the fact that FSC-certified Latvian timber is still on sale in the UK, despite the fact that the FSC certified was suspended on 16 July 2010.

During 2009 and 2010, the FSC-certified Latvian state logging company, Latvijas Valsts Mezi, doubled the area of forest logged from 15,000 hectares to 30,000 hectares each year. Rainforest Alliance, the FSC certifying body, carried out an audit in June 2010, and found that "the harvesting level in 2009/2010 far exceed the long term sustainable level." As AlJazeera's film reveals, this is something of a euphemism...[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]

Greenpeace exposes FSC's 'Controlled Wood' fiction: Finland logging 'Out of Control'Tags: Finland, Controlled wood, Mixed sources labelling, Greenpeace, Legality, Soil Association Woodmark, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

A new report from Greenpeace published this month confirms what this website has been warning for nearly two years: that the FSC's so-called Controlled Wood Policy is a shambles, and is allowing wood from highly unacceptable sources into the FSC certified chain of custody.

The report, called 'Out of Control' (available here - pdf file, 3Mb), follows detailed investigations into several logging operations in Finland over the last two years, during which all major paper companies have been audited against the FSC Controlled Wood standard...[Continue]

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