On 25 May 2009, SGS Qualifor issued an FSC certificate to New Forest Company for its plantations in Uganda. Less than two months later, more than 10,000 villagers petitioned the lands minister to stop New Forest Company from evicting them from their homes. They accused armed groups of beating people, abducting them and destroying their crops and houses. Below are two articles about New Forest Company, one from the Ugandan newspaper, New Vision and one from World Rainforest Movement...[Continue]
As the FSC is considering how it should engage with potential future forest carbon trading schemes - and will no doubt be under pressure from the certification bodies, such as SGS and Rainforest Alliance, to move into this potentially lucrative market - it should take heed of recent developments concerning the United Nations scheme to certify international carbon credits.
The Times reports that "The legitimacy of the $100 billion (£60 billion) carbon-trading market has been called into question after the world's largest auditor of clean-energy projects was suspended by United Nations inspectors...[Continue]
We have received the following from 'Alert against the Green Desert Network' in Brazil, reporting on the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST) continuing occupation of part of the illegal (but FSC certified) plantations owened by Veracel. As we previously reported, the Veracel certification has been highly controversial; despite FSC itself finding that the certificate showed "a number of nonconformities with FSC accreditation requirements", the certificate still remains in place and SGS Qualifor, which was responsible for issuing it, remains accredited by FSC...[Continue]
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]
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]
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]
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]