FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Accreditation Services International: A watchdog with neither bark nor biteTags: Uganda, Accreditation controls, Corrective Action Requests, SGS Qualifor

Last year, Accreditation Services International (ASI) discovered that SGS's certification of Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda was based on hoped for future improvements, rather than what was actually happening in the National Park. ASI, however, failed to take any meaningful action against SGS.

FSC certification requires that the company certified complies with FSC's Principles and Criteria, at the time the certificate is issued. This is fundamental to the credibility of the FSC system.

In April 2007, ASI carried out an annual audit of SGS at Mount Elgon in Uganda...[Continue]

FSC certification threatens Bialowieza forest in PolandTags: Poland, High Conservation Value Forests, SGS Qualifor

The Białowieża forest in eastern Poland is the last remaining patch of ancient forest that once covered the Central European Plain. The forest is home to the European Bison, lynx and wolves. Tens of thousands of vast oak trees, up to 40 metres high mean that the timber industry is interested. A small area of the forest is a National Park. Plans to expand the National Park brought conservationists into conflict with local people who make their living through forestry jobs and collecting firewood, fruit and fungi in the forest - the conflict was partly as a result of misinformation spread by state forestry companies...[Continue]

Galicia, Spain: formal complaint submitted against NORFOR and ASITags: Galicia, Spain, Plantations, Accreditation controls, SGS Qualifor

The Galician environmental group Asociacion Pola Defensa da Ria (APDR) has submitted a formal complaint to the FSC about the certification of plantation company NORFOR and the assessment of it's certifier, SGS that was undertaken by FSC's Accreditation Services International. In their complaint, APDR argues that the FSC-ASI report on SGS's certification of NORFOR is not only of very low quality, but it also fails to address the majority of the criticisms of NORFOR presented by a number of NGOs...[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]

'Low quality' SGS targetted in Greenpeace protest campaignTags: Spain, Poland, Guyana, Greenpeace, SGS Qualifor

As previously reported on FSC-Watch, the certification of the Spanish industrial plantation company, NORFOR, has caused widespread concern, which a recent FSC inspection of the company's certifier, SGS, has only served to heighten. Despite finding clear non-compliances with FSC's Principles and Criteria, the certificate remains in place.

Greenpeace Spain has now launched a letter-writing campaign against SGS, asking the certifier to "stop damaging the good name of the FSC start an in-depth review towards improving the professional quality of your audits, evaluation methodology and, especially, the company's ethical code." The 'cyber-action' campaign, in both Spanish and English, also cites other SGS controversial certificates, including in Guyana and Poland...[Continue]

Barama, Guyana: WWF's 'suspended' star performer in South America accused by President of giant timber scamTags: Guyana, WWF, Legality, SGS Qualifor

At the start of this year, FSC-Watch reported on the 'suspension' of the FSC certificate of Malaysian-owned Guyanese logging company, Barama. A statement issued today by the President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, who accuses Barama of "fraud", will come as a further embarrassment to supporters of the certificate.

One of the issues which the 'suspension' of Barama's certificate raised was the extent to which the FSC system is able or unable to detect high-level fraud and corruption associated with companies seeking certification...[Continue]

NORFOR, Spain: FSC confirms that SGS certfied a non-compliant companyTags: Spain, SGS Qualifor

At the end of last year, FSC-Watch reported on the certification of the Galician plantation company, NORFOR. The company has been the source of much controversy and opposition from local people. Following an investigation into NORFOR's certifier, SGS, FSC's own Accreditation Services International has now reported that environmental concerns were justified, and that the company was non-compliant with FSC's Principles and Criteria...[Continue]

Banned chemicals used in FSC-certified nurseries in UruguayTags: Uruguay, Pesticides, Plantations, SGS Qualifor

RAP-AL Uruguay recently published a report on "Working conditions and agrochemical use in Eufores (Ence) and FOSA (Botnia) nurseries". Both of these operations are FSC-certified. The report, written by María Isabel Cárcamo, is based on research carried out at the nurseries.

The full report (in Spanish) is available here. RAP-AL is The Latin American Network of Action on Pesticides and their Alternatives (La Red de Acción en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas de América Latina)...[Continue]

Veracel certification would be yet another disaster for FSCTags: Brazil, Plantations, SGS Qualifor

Press release from World Rainforest Movement, 17 September 2007:

FSC at a crossroad: Veracel timber certification would be yet another disaster for FSC

The wood-pulp producing company Veracel has applied for FSC certification of its tree plantations in the Brazilian state of Bahia and the evaluation process is being carried out by the international certification firm SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance). Veracel, a joint venture between Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso and Norwegian-Brazilian Aracruz Cellulose exports almost all the pulp produced in Brazil to overseas markets, where it is converted into paper...[Continue]

Swaziland: fires in certified plantations spark national emergencyTags: Swaziland, Plantations, SGS Qualifor

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]

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