An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Slovakia - the 'race to the bottom' for FSC's certification standardsTags: Slovakia, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor, Soil Association Woodmark

The certification by the Soil Association in 2001 of Presov Forest District (PFD, part of the state forestry service) in Slovakia, has always been controversial.

Local environmental groups, such as WOLF/Friends of the Earth Slovakia have long argued that PFD was in gross non-compliance with the FSC's Principles and Criteria. They provided detailed, Principle-by-Principle critiques of PFD's operations, both before and after the certificate was issued, detailing multiple failures to comply with the P&C...[Continue]

The certified 'green desert' in the Emerald IsleTags: Ireland, SGS Qualifor, Soil Association Woodmark

This posting has been provided by 'Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders'

Coillte, the Irish State forestry company which has been FSC certified since 2001, owns 1.1 million acres of some of the wildest and most beautiful parts of Ireland, holding and managing the land in the name of the people of Ireland.

That’s the theory anyway.

Coillte was established under the 1988 Forestry Act, and came into being at the beginning of 1989. All forest land under control of the State's Land Commission was passed to the "semi-state" Coillte Teoranta...[Continue]

Certification in the Congo: a cause for celebration or confusion?Tags: Congo, Tropical Forest Trust, Greenpeace, SGS Qualifor

Along with WWF, Greenpeace recently joined a 'love-in' with African rainforest logger, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), to celebrate the arrival into Switzerland of the first shipment of CIB's FSC-certified timber.

But some people may be a bit surprised by Greenpeace's inclination to celebrate this event: in 2005, Greenpeace issued a detailed critique of CIB's plans to get their 267,000 hectare concession certified, which followed a multi-disciplinary visit organised by Greenpeace to the CIB concession in December 2004, as CIB were preparing to be assessed...[Continue]

Illegal logging in Papua New Guinea: who do we believe? Greenpeace, SGS, or the World Bank?Tags: Papua New Guinea, Greenpeace, SGS Qualifor

In August 2006, the World Bank reported that the level of illegal logging in Papua New Guinea could be as much as be 70 percent.

A mere two months later, the FSC accredited certifier SGS maintains that all log exports from PNG are fully legal - and have been for the last 12 years. The article below is from the PNG newspaper The National, which happens to be owned by Rimbunan Hijau, one of PNGs largest loggers...[Continue]

Laos: FSC certified timber is illegalTags: Laos, Legality, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

By Chris Lang. Published in WRM Bulletin 110, September 2006.

When a forestry operation is certified under the Forest Stewardship Council system, it should mean we can all relax in the knowledge that the forests are reasonably well managed. Unfortunately, it seems, this is not the case. SmartWood, an FSC accredited certifier, recently forestry operations forestry operations in Laos which are producing timber that is illegal under the Lao Forestry Law...[Continue]

FSC going off-track in Canada?Tags: Canada, national initiatives

From a correspondent in Canada

Initially, the FSC Maritime standards came in sound and tight, controversial in the sense that we had a high bar, the highest in the Americas. Since then there has been a slow and steady erosion of the standards by FSC Canada pushing FSC stakeholders in the Maritimes into accepting FSC 'norms'. Some of us who were part of the early group developing standards are part of woodlot cooperatives that are still FSC certified. We have partially dropped out of the ongoing time consuming volunteer task of keeping focussed on fighting for higher standards...[Continue]

World Rainforest Movement calls for cancellation of 8 FSC plantation certificatesTags: plantations

Press release from World Rainforest Movement, 1 September 2006

Organizations from eight different countries are requesting the Forest Stewardship Council -a labelling scheme that certifies good forest management practices- to withdraw the FSC certificate awarded to a number of companies in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Ireland, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay. The challenged certifications in all cases involve large-scale tree plantations which the organizations point out violate the FSC's mandate of promoting "environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests."

"None of the South African plantations should have been certified by the FSC, firstly because plantations are not forests and secondly because of the serious negative social and environmental impacts they produce," says Wally Menne, a member of the Timberwatch Coalition...[Continue]

Green groups demand cancellation of certificates in Galicia and UruguayTags: Spain, Plantations

From the galician ecologist movement to the FSC

In Galicia, we have been suffering for many years the consequences of the dreadful influence of the company ENCE in our natural environment and in our economy. The forestry branch of ENCE, dedicated to the monoculture and trading of eucalyptus wood for the manufacturing of pulp has played a role that has caused the impoverishment and abandonment of rural communities, abandonment of forestry lands, what causes a high risk of fire, has caused intense erosion of lands of its own and held with other companies due to the plantation methods applied, has used, on a massive basis, large volumes of pesticides that have caused the loss of biological diversity and the destruction of resources, has polluted streams and underground aquifers, has caused the loss of fitness of the forest for leisure purposes, has replaced natural systems protected by the Directive on Habitats and has caused the loss of quality of the landscape of the areas occupied by their activities...[Continue]

Ecuadorian groups challenge certificates and quit national FSC initiativeTags: Ecuador, national initiatives

Some of the founding members of the national Ecuadorian FSC group, CEFOVE, have announced their withdrawal from the initiative. The withdrawal of Fundación Altropico (and in particular Jaime Levy, who played an important role in the setting up of CEFOVE), as well as the Federation Awá and two individual members indicates the severity of the problems they have subsequently encountered. Their withdrawal is due to both the recent FSC certification of Endesa-Botrosa, and because of the general policy of CEFOVE.

CEFOVE is dominated by the economic chamber, where 5 companies (Setrafor S.A., Endesa, Botrosa, Acosa, Fundación Forestal Juan Manuel) from the Durini Holding Group have the majority of vote...[Continue]

Certified 'chainsaw criminals' in CameroonTags: Cameroon, Eurocertifor

This item was written by Philippe Chibani-Jacquot in Cameroon. (It is worth adding that Wijma had been called a 'Chainsaw Criminal' by Greenpeace in 2002.)

For the first time in Central Africa, a logging concession has been awarded an FSC certificate, which guarantees the sustainable management of forest resources. This certification has been criticised by environmental NGOs, who cite a number of weaknesses in the audit undertaken by the French certification company, Eurocertifor...[Continue]

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