The controversy over SGS Qualifor's certification of Veracel deepened last week with two-pages of articles in the Brasil de Fato newspaper. The articles (in Portuguese, links below) note the recent court decision against Veracel, fining Veracel US$12.5 million and ruling that the company must remove eucalyptus trees covering an area of 96,000 hectares and replant native forest.
The articles also make several other serious criticisms of Veracel, based on an interview with João Alves da Silva, the public prosecutor in the town of Eunápolis, Bahia state...[Continue]
On 19 June 2008, Spanish pulp company ENCE lost its FSC certification in Spain, when its subsidiaries Norte Forestal (Norfor) and Silvasur had their certificate withdrawn. Norfor manages just over 12,000 hectares of industrial tree plantations in the northeast of Spain and Silvasur has almost 70,000 hectares in Andalusia. Both companies were certified by SGS Qualifor in October 2004. The Norfor certificate was questioned by Greenpeace, WWF, the Asociación Pola Defensa Da Ría, Verdegaia, and Association for the Ecological Defence of Galicia...[Continue]
Back in December 2006, we reported on the curious announcement by German multinational timber company, Danzer, about its intention to 'cooperate' with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in order to get its massive Congolese logging operations FSC certified. Less than two years ago, Per Rosenberg, Director of WWF's Global Forest and Trade Network gushingly proclaimed that "We believe that the cooperation between WWF and Danzer represents an important shift towards responsible forestry for some of the world's most threatened forests in the Congo Basin...[Continue]
In the following contribution, Philip Owen of Southern African NGO GeaSphere, reports on the ecological devastation caused by the FSC certified industrial plantations in South Africa. The article illustrates the problems in one particular site, certified by the 'Soil Association' WoodMark, which overall has certified nearly 500,000 hectares of plantations in South Africa. Readers will not miss the irony that one of the major impacts has been on the soils of the region, and will no doubt question how such an operation could be certified by an organisation which purports to be concerned with the conservation of the world's soil...[Continue]
A final blow has been dealt to the credibility of the now 'self-suspended' FSC certifier SGS, by a Brazilian Federal court decision that nearly one hundred thousand hectares of eucalyptus plantation owned by SGS-certified company Veracel were planted illegally and will have to be torn down within 12 months. The company has also been ordered to pay $12 million in fines for causing environmental damage.
Given the seriousness of the failures with the Veracel certification, combined with what have evidently been gross certification failures in other countries including Guyana, Spain and Poland, FSC-Watch believes that the FSC Secretariat should now impose a global and indefinite suspension on SGS's FSC accreditation...[Continue]
In a shock announcement, South Africa-based SGS Qualifor - FSC's second largest certifier - has said that it has taken a 'business decision' not to issue any further FSC forest management certificates, pending a 'review' of it's forest management certification processes. The announcement, made on the FSC's website, is believed to pre-empt an imminent decision by the FSC Secretariat to formally suspend SGS's accreditation worldwide...[Continue]
FSC-Watch receives many queries and messages of concern, including from industry, as to why the FSC is helping to undermine efforts at paper recycling by allowing the certification of paper with little or no recycled content. We have now received the following article from the May/June 2008 Eco-Journal of the Manitoba Eco-Network, Canada, which we are happy to reproduce.
The article provides interesting insights into how SmartWood's
FSC certification of the output from Tembec's Pine Falls operations has helped destroy production of recycled paper...[Continue]
One of the questions that we receive on a fairly regular basis at FSC-Watch is, "What's your alternative?". There are several answers to this question. First, FSC-Watch exists to point out the flaws in the Forest Stewardship Council as it currently operates. Clearly, one "alternative" would be for FSC to address these flaws. For example, FSC could take seriously the problem that the certifying bodies are hired by the forestry company wanting to be certified. FSC-Watch has pointed out that this is a conflict of interest on many occasions...[Continue]
The following information has been supplied by the Russian NGO, SPOK.
This is yet another example of an FSC certificate issued by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood having to be challenged by NGOs. The logging company in question, Zapkarelles, has a concession of over 800,000 hectares of old growth forest in Karelia.
Regional NGO SPOK, Karelia, requests cancellation of FSC certificate for company 'Zapkarelles'
At the beginning of June, Karelian environmental NGO SPOK wrote an official letter to the Russian national office of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) requesting investigation of the forestry practises of forestry company 'Zapkarelles'...[Continue]
In 2007, SGS Qualifor certified Mount Elgon National Park as "well managed" under the FSC system. Accreditation Services International found that SGS Qualifor's certification 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 Qualifor.
In February 2008, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the agency responsible for managing Uganda's national parks, evicted more than 4,000 people from the indigenous Benet and Ndorobo communities living in Mount Elgon National Park...[Continue]