FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Guyana's certified 'Plunder without Profit'Tags: Guyana, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor

A new report from researcher Janette Bulkan has cast an interesting light on the Guyanese logging industry, including FSC-certified company Barama.

The report seems to confirm what many Guyanese have long known: that the logging industry is not much good for anybody other than the logging companies themselves. According to the new research, as reported in the Starkbroek News, even the FSC-certified Barama brings little or no value to this desperately poor country...[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]

Saved or deleted? FSC certified forest destruction visible from spaceTags: Canada, Certifier conflict of interest, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

One of the problems with the FSC is that the public is almost always reliant on the FSC certifiers' own reports to understand what is going on in any certfied area of forest - and, as we know, the certifiers have a vested economic interest in telling us the best and maybe, well, glossing over the worst. But in the interests of greater transparency, FSC-Watch can now bring you, thanks to GoogleEarth, a satellite's view of some of the operations of FSC's biggest certified company, Tembec, in Quebec, Canada (see below).

Some people might be surprised that something certified by FSC as an 'environmentally acceptable' forestry operation actually appears to be a vast area of clear-felled forest and logging roads...[Continue]

What is the FSC certifying?Tags: Canada, Russia, Sweden, Poland, USA, SGS Qualifor, Soil Association Woodmark

One of the underlying reasons for the existence of this site is that it is difficult, or impossible, even for the FSC members, to pick their way through the relentless 'public relations' output from the Secretariat, and to know what is really going on within the organisation. For example, whilst we hear repeatedly about the expanding area of the Earth's surface under FSC certification, we never seem to hear about the complaints that have been filed about any of these certificates. We never seem to hear that, for example, almost the entire Indonesian NGO community has, for several years, been calling for a cessation of the issuing of any new FSC certificates in their country (and which has been completely ignored by a number of certifiers and by the FSC itself)...[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]

A Critique of the Tembec Certifications, FSC's largest certified companyTags: Canada, Corrective Action Requests, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

This article was supplied by Mary Bull, of the Greenwood Earth Alliance

The Forest Stewardship Council certifications of Tembec Industries Inc on vast areas of Canadian forest land have involved many of the typical flaws and failures of FSC certification documented throughout this web site. These certifications cover large industrial-scale operations involving massive clearcutting and even-aged management, with the certification awarded on the basis of future reforms, and in some cases, future standards...[Continue]

A Million Acres of Clearcuts and Pesticide Use "Certified" in Canada and MaineTags: USA, Canada, Complaints procedures, SCS

This article was submitted by Mary Pjerrou, Greenwood Earth Alliance, .com

The Forest Stewardship Council certification of nearly one million acres of the J.D. Irving company's forest holdings, its clear-cutting practices and widespread use of pesticides, in Canada and in the state of Maine, both by Scientific Certification Systems, (SCS) of Oakland, California, exemplify the abuses and failures of the FSC certification process that have made the FSC label an unreliable guide for consumers who want to purchase wood from well-managed forests...[Continue]

Green groups call for urgent reform of the FSC - certifiers 'eroding credibility'Tags: Worldwide, Certifier conflict of interest, All certifiers

On 30th October, more than 75 environmental organisations from 25 countries wrote a letter to the Executive Director of FSC, Heiko Liedeker, and the FSC's International Board, calling for urgent improvements to the FSC system. The groups include WWF International, Greenpeace International, Birdlife Internationl, Friends of the Earth UK, the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense.

The groups identify in their letter that "the performance of the [FSC's accredited] certification bodies has played a critical role in [the] erosion of FSC's credibility because in too many cases certificates have been issued that raised significant opposition among FSC members"...[Continue]

The FSC, Panamanian teak plantations, and the mafiaTags: Panama, Legality, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

SmartWood's certificate for plantation outfit Prime Forestry Panama was suspended in May 2006, but SmartWood noted at the time that:

"From February 2003 to September 2005, SmartWood carried out 5 on-site audits of Prime Forestry Panama (August 2003, April and September 2004, March and Sept 2005). Through these audits PFP provided evidence that nonconformances were being addressed and demonstrated ongoing compliance with SmartWood and FSC certification requirements."

However, far from being a sustainable forestry operation worthy of an FSC certifcate, it later transpires (see article below from Noriegaville) that the company is a front for a financial scam which has been banned from trading in some of the world's major financial centres...[Continue]

Laos: SmartWood certifies "village forestry"Tags: Laos, Tropical Forest Trust, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

In June 2006, I received a leaked report written by a consultant to a World Bank- Finnish government-funded "village forestry" project in Laos. About 50,000 hectares of the project area had been certified by SmartWood in January 2006. The report documented serious breaches of FSC principles and criteria, particularly the fact that the consultant found that logs were not marked properly. "Tracing and chain of custody of trees/logs is therefore impossible," commented the consultant...[Continue]

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