FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

How Accreditation Services International (FSC-ASI) allows certifiers to break FSC's rules and issue certificates to non-compliant companiesTags: Ireland, Accreditation controls, Soil Association Woodmark

In the past, FSC-Watch has been welcoming towards the work of Accreditation Services International (ASI), the FSC body which is supposed to ensure that the FSC's Principles and Criteria are upheld by the accredited certifiers. There is no doubt that monitoring of the certifiers has improved in recent years. But, for every audit of the certifiers carried out by ASI, there has been a failure to take meaningful action - even in cases where certifiers have been found by ASI to have issued certificates to blatantly non-compliant forest managers...[Continue]

How the FSC broke, then further weakened, its rules on pesticidesTags: Ireland, Pesticides, Accreditation controls, national initiatives, Plantations, Soil Association Woodmark

In December 2006, FSC-Watch reported on how the FSC had bowed to pressure from the plantation industry to 'freeze' implementation of its pesticides policy, which prohibits the use of a chemicals included on FSC's 'banned' list. Under a decision taken by the International Board, FSC decided to extend until the end of June 2007 the deadline by which forestry companies had to apply for special 'derogation' permission to continue using banned chemicals...[Continue]

FSC certification of US public forest lands: the warnings from MichiganTags: USA, Certifier conflict of interest, Accreditation controls, SCS

Debate is growing in the US about the certification of public forests with FSC and the so-called Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) being the front-running schemes. There are good reasons to question whether, in its current state, FSC is an appropriate tool for certification of the vast areas of forest which are in state and federal public ownership in the US, and which in many cases have very high values for recreational, cultural and nature protection purposes. Some of the potential problems are starkly illustrated by one of the existing major FSC certifications of public forest lands, that of the 1.6 million hectares of the Michigan state forests as managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)...[Continue]

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]

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]

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]

Bureau Veritas: banned from Cameroon, but free to operate next door in GabonTags: Cameroon, Gabon, Accreditation controls, Bureau Veritas

Earlier this year, FSC-Watch reported on the curious circumstances surrounding the 'suspension' of Bureau Veritas's (BV) accreditation by FSC for, as yet unrevealed, problems with the certification of the Cameroonian rainforest logging company, Wijma. We now learn that, whilst Bureau Veritas remains prohibited from carrying out FSC certifications in Cameroon, it has just started the process of trying certify the massive logging operations of Rougier, in neighbouring Gabon...[Continue]

'Non-existent' indigenous people challenge WWF's certified 'model' forest project, Komi, RussiaTags: Russia, WWF, Accreditation controls, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

One of the several issues raised in our earlier posting on the FSC in Russia was the case of the 'Komi Model Forest Project', which is taking place in the Komi Republic, north-western Russia. The reports we have received below indicate that this project, which is used as a 'model' for certified forestry operations in European Russia, may be a model of what not to do, rather than one of good practice. It once again raises questions about the competence of SmartWood as an FSC-accredited certifier, and about WWF's relationships with forestry companies...[Continue]

FSC in Russia: 'sustainable forest management' or simply money and politics?Tags: Russia, WWF, Greenpeace, Accreditation controls, SGS Qualifor, Control Union, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

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]

FSC audit of SGS leads to suspension of largest tropical logging certificateTags: Guyana, Accreditation controls, Certifier conflict of interest, Partial certification, WWF, SGS Qualifor

It was announced today that FSC’s largest certificate for tropical forest management, had been suspended. The certificate, issued by SGS-Qualifor to the Barama company, the Guyanese subsidiary of the controversial Malaysian-based logging transnational, Samling, was put on hold following an investigation by the FSC’s Accreditation Service International (ASI) in November 2006.

The announcement will come as a particular embarrassment to WWF. In March 2006, when Barama received their certificate, WWF proclaimed it as a "record-setting accomplishment for tropical forest conservation in South America"...[Continue]

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