This month's WRM Bulletin includes an editorial about FSC's certification of industrial tree plantations and two articles about the assessment of Veracel, which is currently being carried out by SGS. The editorial and the two articles are reproduced in full below:
FSC Certification of Veracel: A turning point or business as usual?
For over a decade WRM has been gathering, producing and disseminating information and analysis on the social and environmental impacts of fast wood plantations, characterized as large-scale, fast-growth tree monocultures...[Continue]
FSC-Watch has been sent the following article by Svetlana Alekseeva, Chief Editor of "Forest Certification". It raises a number of serious questions about the motivation of various 'stakeholders' involved in FSC certifications in Russia.
Students of the history of global forest management and policy will recognise some of the underlying themes and concerns of this article. Over the last 100 years or so, wherever large 'forest frontier' areas come under extensive exploitation, the addition of new (often legal) requirements for 'sustainable forest management' are skillfully used by the larger interests to squeeze out their competitors, enabling them to consolidate their land-holdings and reduce their competitors' market share...[Continue]
Back in November 2006, FSC-Watch reported on the strange lack of consistency between SGS and other observers as diverse as Greenpeace and the World Bank, on the question of the legality, or otherwise, of logging in Papua New Guinea. Whilst most experts take the view that illegal forestry activities are rampant - possibly dominant - in PNG, SGS seems to believe that all log exports from PNG have been legal for the last 12 years...[Continue]
Back in January, FSC-Watch reported that the largest FSC certified tropical logging operation (Barama, in Guyana) had had its certificate suspended. One of the interesting aspects of this was that WWF had been working closely with the company for some time, providing technical advice and helping the company to get its certificate. This was clearly an embarrassment for WWF, who had only 9 months earlier breathlessly exclaimed that the certificate was a "record-setting accomplishment for tropical forest conservation in South America"...[Continue]
The Peoples' Permanent Tribunal* which has been investigating the social and environmental impacts of companies in Colombia, has recently heard evidence against a number of companies, including two that are certified by the FSC: Smurfit Kapa Cartón de Colombia and Pizano SA. (Smurfit was certified for FSC by SGS Qualifor; in contravention of FSC's requirements, there was no information about this certificate available on SGS's website at the date of this posting. Pizano was certified by SmartWood.)
The 'verdict' of the Tribunal's meeting in Colombia's Low Atrato region on 26-27 February 2007 included the following conclusions:
"The company Smurfit Kapa Cartón de Colombia was accused of the violation of human, environmental, social and cultural rights...[Continue]
On March 1st, FSC-Watch reported on the murder of a peasant by guards of the company Vallourec and Mannesman, which was certified for the FSC by SGS-Qualifor.
On 15th March, the company released the announcement below, in Portuguese, communicating "its voluntary decision to leave the FSC after 8 years of very close relationship". The reason the company gives in the release is that it does not agree with the way the audit was carried out by the certifying body (SGS)...[Continue]
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]
FSC-Watch has received the following communication* from Rede Alerta Contra o Deserto Verde (Action Network Against Green Deserts), Brazil, concerning the shooting dead of a local peasant by the armed guards of Vallourec Mannesman, a eucalyptus plantation company in Minas Gerais state, Brazil, certified for the FSC by SGS.
Below the communication from Green Deserts is an article from Red Pepper magazine from 2006 which describes some of the context of this new FSC-certified atrocity...[Continue]
A couple of weeks ago, FSC-Watch received this email from Wally Menne of TimberWatch in South Africa. It raises an interesting point - the FSC International Secretariat produces almost exclusively good news, no matter what is happening in the outside world. So far, Wally has not received either a reply or an acknowledgment of his email. We will, of course, be happy to post FSC's response when it appears.