In July 2008, FSC announced that "SGS South Africa, an FSC accredited certification body, has made a business decision to adopt an open-ended moratorium on the issuance of new FSC forest management certificates." I wrote to FSC with some questions about the moratorium. FSC has so far declined to respond. The emails are below.
The "moratorium" did not prevent SGS from issuing certificates to clients with which SGS had already signed contracts. The "moratorium" did not apply to chain of custody certificates, which SGS continued to issue...[Continue]
Another of FSC's longest-term NGO supporters, the San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network has added itself to the list of NGOs expressing serious doubts about the FSC. In a new posting on RAN's website, the organisation's Programme Director, Jennifer Krill, states that the credibility of FSC "continues to be threatened". Krill specifically identifies the so-called Controlled Wood Standard as being problematic, and hints that RAN might withdraw its support for the organisation...[Continue]
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FoE EWNI) has confirmed that it no longer recognises the value of FSC certificates. FoE EWNI's website is now advising that FoE EWNI "is deeply concerned by the number of FSC certifications that are now sparking controversy and threatening the credibility of the scheme. We cannot support a scheme that fails to guarantee high environmental and social standards. As a result we can no longer recommend the FSC standard"...[Continue]
This month's World Rainforest Movement Bulletin focusses on the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations on 21 September. The Bulletin explains why a campaign against industrial tree plantations is important, includes materials for campaigns as well as news and analysis from around the world about struggles against plantations.
One article looks at FSC's record in certifying of plantations. If FSC is to take its own standards seriously, it must stop certifying monoculture tree plantations (a fully referenced version of this article is available here):
FSC: Stop certifying monoculture tree plantations!
By Chris Lang...[Continue]
FSC's forthcoming 3-yearly General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, looks like it will be a farcical exercise in corporate-sponsored public relations, whilst the disparity between what the organisation likes to think it is doing and what it is actually doing continues to grow.
Nothing illustrates FSC's absurd self-deception better than the field trip planned for the pleasure of assembly participants. FSC's invite to this promises that "FSC has organized a field trip to one of the most beautiful nature reserves near Cape Town - the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve...[Continue]
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]