FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

WWF pulls the plug on Barama, former FSC star performerTags: Guyana, WWF, SGS Qualifor

WWF has finalised its forced retreat from supporting one of South America's most notorious logging companies, and now says it believes that the Guyana-based Barama would not be able to regain the FSC certificate that was 'suspended' in 2007.

FSC-Watch is glad to learn that the local chapter of WWF is 'reviewing' its policy on supporting private logging companies - something which the WWF should reconsider worldwide - but wonders how the 'fatal flaws' in Barama's logging operations were not identified at the time by its certifier, SGS?

The following report comes from the Guyanese newspaper, Starbroek news...[Continue]

FSC Certification of plantations in South Africa criticisedTags: South Africa, Plantations, SGS Qualifor

In November 2008, just before the FSC General Assembly, Global Forest Coalition released a report criticising plantation certification in South Africa. The report's authors, Wally Menne and Blessing Karumbidza of The Timberwatch Coalition, asked the question "Can the FSC forest certification model be used to demonstrate sustainability in large-scale agrofuel crop production?" Their answer is a resounding "no".

The report looks in detail at the FSC certification of the industrial tree plantations belonging to the company Hans Merensky Holdings and its subsidiary Singisi Forest Products, which have been FSC certified since 2002 by SGS Qualifor...[Continue]

Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB): myth of biodiversity protection evaporates as new evidence shows impacts on elephantsTags: Congo, Tropical Forest Trust, Certifier conflict of interest, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

A new research paper (see abstract below) on the behavioural patterns of forest elephants has dealt a major blow to the myth of 'sustainable logging' in the rainforests of the Congo Basin. One of the areas specifically referred to in the paper as being negatively impacted is covered by the concessions of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) that is currently being 'pre-assessed' for FSC certification by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood.

CIB has already gained FSC certification for two of its five concessions in northern Republic of Congo, which together cover 1.3 million hectares of once pristine rainforest...[Continue]

FSC and the Lacey Act: the $500,000 questionTags: Worldwide, Controlled wood, Mixed sources labelling, Legality, All certifiers

In May 2008, the US government enacted a revision to the Lacey Act, a hundred year-old piece of legislation that renders it illegal to trade in goods in the US which are from illegal sources, which now makes the Act applicable to the timber trade. Whilst timber traders are no doubt hoping that use of FSC certified wood is going to keep them out of prison, they may be in for a nasty shock.

This year's revision to the Act came about through a long lobbying campaign by US environmental groups, who were also joined by the US wood industry and labour organisations in seeking to exclude illegally acquired wood from outside the US...[Continue]

Greenpeace exposes FSC's 'Controlled Wood' fiction: Finland logging 'Out of Control'Tags: Finland, Controlled wood, Mixed sources labelling, Greenpeace, Legality, Soil Association Woodmark, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

A new report from Greenpeace published this month confirms what this website has been warning for nearly two years: that the FSC's so-called Controlled Wood Policy is a shambles, and is allowing wood from highly unacceptable sources into the FSC certified chain of custody.

The report, called 'Out of Control' (available here - pdf file, 3Mb), follows detailed investigations into several logging operations in Finland over the last two years, during which all major paper companies have been audited against the FSC Controlled Wood standard...[Continue]

FSC is misleading consumers about paper productsTags: Plantations

An FSC label on paper products should ensure that the paper is produced from "environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests". At least that's what it says in the introduction to FSC's Principles and Criteria. The unfortunate reality is that FSC has certified some of the most egregious industrial tree plantations in the world.

I'm currently putting the finishing touches to a report for the World Rainforest Movement looking at Europe's role in supporting the expansion of industrial tree plantations and the pulp and paper industry in the global South...[Continue]

FSC's certified disgrace continues in IrelandTags: Ireland, Soil Association Woodmark

Despite what Greenpeace might want the public believe about the FSC being well on the way to bcoming a credible certification scheme again, people living with the effects of some of FSC's certified operations know better. In Ireland, as FSC-Watch has been reporting
for the last two years, the state forestry company Coillte has remained FSC certified for the last seven years, despite the numerous failures being known by both its certifier and the FSC itself...[Continue]

NGOs in a tangle over need for FSC 'reforms'Tags: Worldwide

As the FSC General Assembly opened in Cape Town, northern NGOs were falling over themselves to issue statements as to how the FSC should be 'reformed' - or to try to claim that it already has been - but the contradictory demands set out by these NGOs are likely to ensure that the FSC will continue to stumble towards chaos, irrelevance and non-credibility.

First amongst the NGO statements was the Brussels and UK-based FERN, in a statement issued jointly with Greenpeace, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), the Tropical Forest Trust and the African logging lobby organisation, the Inter-African Forest Industry Association (IFIA)...[Continue]

More than 3,600 people tell FSC to stop certifying industrial tree plantationsTags: South Africa, Ecuador, Brazil, Swaziland, Plantations

More than 3,600 organisations and individuals have signed on to World Rainforest Movement's letter to FSC members demanding that FSC should stop certifying industrial tree plantations. FSC-Watch looks forward to seeing FSC's response to the letter - preferably a decision to stop certifying environmentally and socially destructive monocultures. Today, WRM released the following press release:

WRM Press release, 3 November 2008

Forest Stewardship Council meeting in South Africa NGOs call on FSC to stop certifying tree plantations

The General Assembly of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3-7 November...[Continue]

An alternative view at the FSC General AssemblyTags: Worldwide

FSC members are becoming increasingly bemused by some of the 'side events' being set up for the General Assembly, including a seminar on 'Ecological Networks for Biodiversity Conservation', hosted by the South African plantations company, Mondi. But as the FSC slips ever further into blatant corporate-sponsored greenwashing, attendees will nevertheless have an opportunity to listen to an alternative viewpoint on FSC and plantations, to be presented at a 'non-official' side event hosted by local NGO Timberwatch, and the Global Forest Coalition...[Continue]

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