FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Hancock Victoria Plantations, Australia: SmartWood continues to discredit FSCTags: Australia, Certifier conflict of interest, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

We have been asked to publish the following article, by Anthony Amis of Friends of the Earth Melbourne, Australia.

It highlights some now very familiar themes: failure of SmartWood to comply with the FSC's rules by not publishing its Public Summary reports in a timely manner: certification on the basis of 'hoped-for improvements' rather than performance, and covering up failures to actually improve by continually re-issuing 'Corrective Action Requests'; slowness of the ASI in publishing the reports of it's audits of certifiers where problems are identified...all of which is no doubt good for SmartWood's business, but bad for the FSC's credibility...[Continue]

FSC dumps Asia Pulp and Paper - but who was to blame?Tags: Indonesia, Certifier conflict of interest, Mixed sources labelling, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood, SGS Qualifor

In December 2007, the FSC announced that it was "dissociating" itself from the giant Sinar Mas-owned Indonesian paper company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) - see statement below. The news was mostly greeted by the environmental movement, though there is some suspicion that the FSC only took this unusual step because the possible certification of APP had been exposed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. WWF in particular has issued stinging reports of the company's greewashing of its destruction of forests to feed its pulp mill in Riau province, Sumatra...[Continue]

SmartWood and Tembec: into the 'black hole' of disinformationTags: Canada, Certifier conflict of interest, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

FSC-Watch earlier reported on the certification of more areas of Tembec's vast logging operations in Canada, making it the largest of all FSC certified companies and no doubt earning it's certifier, SmartWood, substantial fees. David Nickarz, a forest activist in Winnipeg, has been challenging Rainforest Alliance over this certificate. Other forest activists that have questioned SmartWood (there are many of them) will understand what David means by the 'black hole' of disinformation that he refers to in the blog article below, which describes his experiences in 'complaining' to SmartWood...[Continue]

Wall Street Journal exposes FSC policy chaosTags: Worldwide, Indonesia, Mixed sources labelling, Controlled wood, Certifier conflict of interest

The Wall Street Journal today ran the following story, the original of which is available here

FSC's 'Green' Label for Wood Products Gets Growing Pains

By TOM WRIGHT and JIM CARLTON

October 30, 2007

The environmental group that runs a widely recognized labeling system to identify "green" wood and paper products has acknowledged that some companies using its label are destroying pristine forests and says it plans to overhaul its rules...[Continue]

SCS certification of Jurua Forestal, Brazil: FSC plumbs new depths of bad practiceTags: Brazil, Accreditation controls, Certifier conflict of interest, SCS

To some people, such as Mayor Salvatore Perillo of Ocean City, New Jersey, USA, the FSC represents the 'Gold Standard' of forest certification; an assurance that wood comes from well-managed and properly independently audited sources. But Mayor Perillo, and many others, would do well to know what lies behind the FSC's claims. One of the more shocking examples - Jurua Forestal Ltda, which is felling timber in the Brazilian rainforest - is a potential supplier of ipe timber for the imminent repair of Perillo's Ocean City sea-front boardwalks.

Jurua Forestal was first certified for FSC by the California-based Scientific Certification Systems Inc in April 2002...[Continue]

SmartWood misled US local authority over FSC timberTags: USA, Certifier conflict of interest, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

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]

FSC's new 'Global Strategy': a recipe for disaster?Tags: Worldwide, Strategic planning, Certifier conflict of interest

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]

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]

Hard-up certifier seeks job 'on the side'Tags: Worldwide, Certifier conflict of interest, All certifiers, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Up until a few years ago, FSC's accredited certifiers were prohibited from certifying for other forest certification schemes, because of the obvious conflict of interest that this would represent. But, as has been the way of things in the FSC, such a ban represented an obstacle to the increase of the certifiers' profits, and was therefore duly done away with. (One of the more bizarre justifications offered for this profound weakening of the FSC's rules, from the now Chair of FSC's Board, Grant Rosoman, was that, if the certifiers were prohibited from 'moonlighting' for other schemes, then they would simply set up nominally separate organisations to get around this rule...[Continue]

New report increases doubts about SGS's reliabilityTags: Papua New Guinea, Certifier conflict of interest, Legality, SGS Qualifor

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]

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