The government of Swaziland declared a national emergency earlier this month after fierce fires swept northern parts of the country, killing dozens of people and livestock and destroying hundreds of homes. The fires started in the FSC-certified plantations run by the Mondi company in the Piggs Peaks region, and also affected part of an FSC-certified plantation owned by another South African pulp and paper conglomerate, Sappi...[Continue]
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:
From WRM Bulletin 121 - August 2007
And here's what Veracel's plantations look like:
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]
In the New Jersey town of Ocean City, controversy has been raging about the City Council's planned use of more than a hundred thousand board feet of FSC-certified rainforest timber. The City Council is planning to use the Amazonian wood ipe (pronounced 'ee-pay') for a major renewal of its sea-front boardwalks. Many local people - supported by the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club - are opposed to the use of rainforest timber, and have been asking the City Council to use more environmentally acceptable alternatives...[Continue]
Following queries from FSC-Watch, WWF International has asked us to 'correct' the article we posted a few days ago concerning the scandalous certification of Forestal Venao, Peru. In fact, WWF's helpful clarification of its role does not require us to 'correct' the article, but we are anyway happy to include the WWF response below in full.
As readers will see, WWF's response not only confirms what we published earlier, but also corroborates from another source that SmartWood was well aware of serious concerns about Venao before they issued their certificate - but proceded to issue it nevertheless...[Continue]
The Norwegian government has decided that it it cannot rely on any certification system, not even the FSC, to help implement it's newly announced 'ethical procurement' policy. The Norwegian authorities instead decided to ban all use of tropical timber in public buildings, stating that "The government wants to stop all trade with unsustainably or illegally logged tropical forest products. Today there is no international or national certification that can guarantee in a reliable manner that imported wood is legally and sustainably logged"...[Continue]
Earlier this year, we reported that Rainforest Alliance SmartWood was in the process of consulting about whether it should start a new 'Legality Verification' scheme for timber. Our opinion was that the Rainforest Alliance's previous track-record of detecting illegality had been so dismal that there is no reason to believe that they are capable of identifying even gross breaches of the law. Now we have received information of yet another case where SmartWood appears to have 'turned a blind eye' to serious illegalities in one of the logging companies it has certified under the FSC scheme...[Continue]
We are taking the liberty of reproducing here a powerful personal insight into the proposed FSC certification of Brazilian eucalyptus plantation company, Veracel, which was published in the latest edition of the bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement.
The certifying firm SGS has launched a consultation process for the FSC certification of Veracel Celulose's eucalyptus plantations. This company is owned by the Swedish-Finnish company Stora Enso and the Norwegian-Brazilian company Aracruz Celulose and its plantations are established on 78,000 hectares of land in the extreme south of the State of Bahia...[Continue]
Earlier this year, we reported on the 'anomalous' circumstances surrounding the certification of Wijma, a company logging in the rainforests of Cameroon. Wijma's certifier, Bureau Veritas was 'suspended' because of Wijma's certificate, though the certificate itself was allowed to remain in place. Now we learn that, in a complete reversal, Burea Veritas has been 're-accredited' to FSC, but Wijma has mysteriously disappeared off the list of currently certified companies...[Continue]
The US-based 'e-activist' network Ecological Internet has launched a letter-writing campaign aimed at Greenpeace, asking them to withdraw their support for FSC-certified 'ancient forest logging'. The campaign demands that Greenpeace publishes a report on 'problematic' FSC certificates, which is believed to have been under investigation by the green group for many months. The new campaign is specifically directed at Grant Rosoman, of Greenpeace New Zealand, who is asked to resign as Chair of FSC's international Board. Greenpeace's forest activists worldwide are also being targetted, and are likely to received many thousands of protest e-mails...[Continue]
The FSC is currently consulting on the preparation of a new 'Global Strategy' that will guide the organisation for the next 5 years (the strategy is, we learn, open for public consultation only until June 15th although, given that many FSC stakeholders seem to have found out about this only very late in the day, we hope that FSC will extend this deadline). A full copy of the draft strategy is available for download at the end of this posting.
The fact that FSC is looking to adopt a global strategy is no bad thing, and the fact that this is being done transparently is a vast improvement on previous strategic planning processes, such as happened in 1998, when a strategic plan was secretly developed and adopted without even the FSC's members being aware of it...[Continue]