FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

FSC Ireland lurches into new crisis as key NGOs withdraw supportTags: Ireland, Soil Association Woodmark

FSC-Watch has reported numerous times on the shambles that is the FSC's Irish Forest Certification Initiative (IFCI), and the associated certificate issued to the state forestry company, Coillte. After more than six years of discussion, consuming copious amounts of funding and stakeholders' effort, IFCI has still failed to come up with a credible national standard.

Coillte, which controls 8% of the nation's land, was certified in 2001 under a weak draft national standard...[Continue]

FSC Ireland: 'failure at all levels', and now a formal complaint against IFCITags: Ireland, Certifier conflict of interest, Complaints procedures, FSC Secretariat, Soil Association Woodmark

FSC-Watch has reported several times on the on-going problems with the FSC certification of the Irish state forestry company, Coillte. The conflict over this particular certificate is but one of many such conflicts worldwide, but in some ways it exemplifies the worst of the FSC. Amongst Irish stakeholders, the FSC is becoming a bye-word for incompetence, foot-dragging and obstruction. FSC's activities in Ireland have now sparked a formal complaint though, as FSC-Watch has reported, given the state of FSC's complaints' procedures, it is difficult to see how or if this could bring a satisfactory resolution to a problem that has now been festering for nearly 8 years...[Continue]

WoodMark pioneers 'continuous deterioration' certification in IrelandTags: Ireland, Hoped-for improvements, Plantations, Soil Association Woodmark

Finally, as the FSC's inspectors arrive at its doors for its annual accreditation inspection, Soil Association WoodMark has produced the long-awaited and overdue report of its 2006 surveillance of controversial Irish state forestry company, Coillte.

Many people, not the least Irish environmental and social stakeholders, will be disappointed that WoodMark has failed to cancel the certificate outright, in the face of overwhelming evidence of Coillte's non-compliance with FSC's Principles and Criteria. But what is revealing about the report is the number of 'Correction Action Requests' that WoodMark has had to issue in order to keep the certificate alive...[Continue]

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]

Swaziland: FSC credibility hits all time low with certification of SappiTags: Swaziland, Pesticides, Plantations, Soil Association Woodmark

In November 2004, on a visit to Swaziland with Wally Menne of TimberWatch, I saw the destruction caused by fifty years of industrial forestry "development". Many of the plantations were established under a British "aid" programme run by the Colonial Development Corporation (now called CDC Group - a private equity company whose sole shareholder is the UK Department for International Development).

I saw Sappi's apparently endless pine monocultures and huge clearcuts...[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]

On the road to nowhere? The dangers of certifying ‘hoped-for’ improvements in the Czech RepublicTags: Czech Republic, Hoped-for improvements, Corrective Action Requests, Soil Association Woodmark

When Soil Association WoodMark re-certified the 10,000 hectares of Masarykův les Křtiny (ŠLP), a State-owned forest in the Czech Republic in 2004 (which had first been certified in 1997), one of the notable features of the Public Summary report was the number of times in which the phrase “to be implemented immediately on certification” was used in relation to the numerous Corrective Action Requests issued. In other words, SLP had not actually achieved whatever standards WoodMark used to assess them (there was no national FSC Standard in the Czech Republic at the time of the assessment), but would hopefully achieve them afterwards...[Continue]

WWF, Tropical Forest Trust, and Perhutani: more unanswered questionsTags: Indonesia, WWF, Tropical Forest Trust, Partial certification, Soil Association Woodmark

Some readers of FSC-Watch will no doubt have been surprised to learn that the UK-based NGO Soil Association has, through it's subsidiary certification body WoodMark, started the process of certifying parts of the notorious Indonesian plantation company Perhutani.

More surprising still, perhaps, is the news that WWF has also been collaborating with Perhutani, which stands accused of gross human rights violations. WWF recently allowed Perhutani to join the prestigious Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) - though WWF have not disclosed how much money Perhutani have paid for this privilege...[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

PRESS RELEASE

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]

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