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]
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]
It is customary in many organisations to give out-going staff a photo-album showing the person's accomplishments, for them to cherish in future years. We can't do that for Heiko Liedeker, who is finally departing as FSC Executive Director, but what we would like to do with this posting is to show some of what has gone so badly wrong in the past - and what we expect the new Executive Director to put right.
We invite our readers to submit any other photographs that they would like to contribute!
Click on the image for an even clearer picture of what FSC has certified...[Continue]
World Rainforest Movement expresses strong criticism of the FSC in its statement reacting to the news that Veracel's monoculture eucalyptus plantations are now FSC certified. WRM notes that Veracel is the "last piece in a chain of failures" by FSC.
At the time of the company's assessment by SGS in September 2007, WRM warned that the possible certification of Veracel placed FSC 'at the crossroads'...[Continue]
On Tuesday, 4th March 2008, about 900 women from the International Peasant Movement Via Campesina were violently evicted by the Military Police from an area of 2,100 hectares of Stora Enso's plantations at the Tarumã Farm in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. According to a statement from Via Campesina about 60 women were badly injured and 800 were arrested. Meanwhile, 250 children at the camp were separated from their parents. Tents were destroyed and tools taken from the women.
The women were protesting against Stora Enso's monoculture eucalyptus plantations, which the company is currently establishing in Rio Grande do Sul...[Continue]
A US timber company is suing a New Jersey city authority over its cancellation of a controversial order of FSC certified lumber for repair of its ocean-front boardwalks. In the latest development in this long-running debacle, which has exposed gaping weaknesses in the FSC's Chain of Custody system, the Louis Grasmick Lumber company of Baltimore has said that it will sue the Ocean City authorities for $1.2 million
Local environmental campaigners have long opposed the use by Ocean City of Amazonian ipe wood for the city boardwalk renovation project...[Continue]
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]
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]
This month's WRM Bulletin includes an editorial about FSC's certification of industrial tree plantations and two articles about the assessment of Veracel, which is currently being carried out by SGS. The editorial and the two articles are reproduced in full below:
From WRM Bulletin 121 - August 2007
And here's what Veracel's plantations look like:
FSC Certification of Veracel: A turning point or business as usual?
For over a decade WRM has been gathering, producing and disseminating information and analysis on the social and environmental impacts of fast wood plantations, characterized as large-scale, fast-growth tree monocultures...[Continue]
We are taking the liberty of reproducing here a powerful personal insight into the proposed FSC certification of Brazilian eucalyptus plantation company, Veracel, which was published in the latest edition of the bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement.
The certifying firm SGS has launched a consultation process for the FSC certification of Veracel Celulose's eucalyptus plantations. This company is owned by the Swedish-Finnish company Stora Enso and the Norwegian-Brazilian company Aracruz Celulose and its plantations are established on 78,000 hectares of land in the extreme south of the State of Bahia...[Continue]