An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Ireland: embarrassment mounts for Soil AssociationTags: Ireland, Plantations, Hoped-for improvements, Certifier conflict of interest, Soil Association Woodmark

More than three months after its most recent surveillance visit, Soil Association Woodmark has still failed to produce a Public Summary report stating whether, or under what conditions, it believes that the Irish state forestry company, Coillte, can remain FSC-certified.

Soil Association Woodmark took over the already controversial certification of Coillte's 400,000+ hectares of mostly exotic plantations from SGS in 2004. Since then, increasing evidence has been presented to Woodmark about Coillte's non-compliance with the FSC Principles and Criteria...[Continue]

FSC Certified operations fast losing credibility in AustraliaTags: Australia, Plantations, Certifier conflict of interest, Corrective Action Requests, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

This posting has been submitted by Anthony Amis, Friends of the Earth Melbourne, Australia.

In February 2004, Hancock Victorian Plantations received Australia's first FSC certification [certifier: SmartWood]. Many interested parties initially hoped that FSC would deliver on what it promised and we would see a marked improvement in Hancock's forest management practices. Those promises have not eventuated and in many ways Hancock's forest management is getting worse not better...[Continue]

FSC-certified Coillte, Ireland: "environmentally destructive, rapacious"Tags: Ireland, Certifier conflict of interest, Soil Association Woodmark

The following letter recently appeared in the Irish newspaper, the Examiner.

It paints a disturbing picture of the environmental impact of the FSC-certified state forestry company, Coillte, which controls around 400,000 hectares of land in Ireland. FSC-Watch has reported on Coillte several times in the past - but the certificate remains as a stain on FSC's credibility.

It has also brought into doubt the credibility of Soil Association Woodmark, which took over the certificate from SGS in 2004, and re-issued the certficate in 2005...[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]

Bureau Veritas accreditation suspended in CameroonTags: Cameroon, Certifier conflict of interest, Eurocertifor, Bureau Veritas

FSC-Watch has previously reported on the highly controversial certification of Wijma, a company logging in the rainforests of Cameroon which the independent observer of forests in that country has repeatedly found to be involved in illegalities.

The certification has now led to the suspension of Wijma's certifer, Bureau Veritas (formerly Eurocertifor). We have been asked to post the following article, which is submitted by Danielle van Oijen, Forest Campaigner, Milieudefensie / Friends of The Earth Netherlands...[Continue]

FSC audit of SGS leads to suspension of largest tropical logging certificateTags: Guyana, Accreditation controls, Certifier conflict of interest, Partial certification, WWF, SGS Qualifor

It was announced today that FSC’s largest certificate for tropical forest management, had been suspended. The certificate, issued by SGS-Qualifor to the Barama company, the Guyanese subsidiary of the controversial Malaysian-based logging transnational, Samling, was put on hold following an investigation by the FSC’s Accreditation Service International (ASI) in November 2006.

The announcement will come as a particular embarrassment to WWF. In March 2006, when Barama received their certificate, WWF proclaimed it as a "record-setting accomplishment for tropical forest conservation in South America"...[Continue]

Slovak environmental NGOs ‘sickened’ by re-certification of Presov Forest District: the FSC’s failings laid bareTags: Slovakia, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor

Last month, FSC-Watch reported on the ‘race to the bottom’ of FSC standards for certification of the Presov Forest District in Slovakia.

The race has now been run, and the certificate – which was withdrawn only a few weeks ago by Soil Association WoodMark - has now been ‘re-awarded’ by SGS. One representative of the Slovak environmental movement has said that they are ‘sickened’ by this development, and have dismissed the certificate as “nothing but greenwashing”...[Continue]

Certifying the uncertifiable: Soil Association WoodMark, Perhutani, and human rights abusesTags: Indonesia, Partial certification, Plantations, Certifier conflict of interest, Soil Association Woodmark

The Soil Association's FSC-accredited certifier WoodMark has just announced a 'stakeholder consultation' for the potential certification of two management units of the huge Indonesian plantation company, Perhutani.

Many people, not least members of the FSC who care about the organisation's reputation, will probably be somewhat surprised about this: the very same Perhutani management units were amongst those that had their FSC certificates 'suspended' (and evidently completely withdrawn) by SmartWood in August 2001...[Continue]

Irish Environmental and Social Groups Unite to Demand Removal of Coillte CertificateTags: Ireland, Certifier conflict of interest, Complaints procedures, Plantations, Soil Association Woodmark

The following was submitted by the Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders' Alliance


Embargo until: 00.01am Monday the 27th of November 2006

An alliance of environmental and social groups from Ireland today sent a detailed and powerful rebuttal of the environmental certification of Coillte, Ireland's largest forestry company, to the Lord Peter Melchett and the Board of the Soil Association, who are responsible for the certificate.

In the rebuttal, the Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders' Alliance (IESS) slams Irish state forestry company Coillte's record on the environment and social issues...[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]

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