FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

FSC's proposed change of rules on plantations "may be hard-to-stomach"Tags: Plantations, Greenpeace

A revealing article posted by leading website on rainforest issues, mongabay.com raises concerns about proposed changes to FSC's rules, which threaten to open up the flood gates of FSC certification of plantations which have recently been established on former areas of natural forests. At present, FSC prohibits certification of plantations that are on land cleared of forest after 1994.

According to Mongabay, the original proposer of the motion was Daemeter Consulting, a spokesperson for which states that "As a member and strong supporter of FSC, we believe the organization needs to take a pragmatic approach to ensure it maintains an ability to influence the conversion [of natural forests to plantations] process"...[Continue]

SIFORCO in DR Congo: nice certificates, shame about the arrests, beatings, burning and rapesTags: Democratic Republic of Congo, Controlled wood, Mixed sources labelling, SGS Qualifor, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Certification in any of the countries in the Congo Basin was always going to stretch the credibility of the FSC system to the limit - as the miserable experiences in Cameroon of companies such as SEFAC and Wijma have shown (the former of which remains 'suspended' for forest management but, illogically, still certified for Chain of Custody). Sadly, because the FSC is unable to control its certifiers, these lessons seem not to have been learned; allowing its certifiers to issue certificates in DR Congo was always bound to end in disaster...[Continue]

CIB - FSC's great African embarrassmentTags: Congo, Tropical Forest Trust, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Nothing encapsulates the dismal weaknesses of the FSC system quite as well as the case of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) - which for many years has been FSC's flagship certified logging operation in Africa.

Much has been written about CIB, which has been one of the most controversial logging operations anywhere in the tropics. Critics have questioned whether the company should qualify for certification right across the sweep of FSC's requirements - its environmental and social impact, and its economic sustainability. Now it seems that its claim to sustainability in all three areas has unravelled, raising further serious questions about how the company could ever have been certified in the first place...[Continue]

FSC allows continued slaughter of wild baboons in South African plantationsTags: South Africa, Complaints procedures

The following press release has been issed by South Africa-based NGO, Geasphere

The decision by the FSC Complaints Panel not to uphold the complaint against the mass slaughter of wildlife in certified plantations in South Africa appears to mean that the FSC's complaint procedure, though recently revised, maintains its 100% record of never having resulted in the cancellation of a certificate as a result of a formal complaint.

In response to yet another whitewashing job by the FSC Complaints Process, Geasphere has written a letter to the FSC setting out in detail why the process was seriously flawed - both in terms of the specifics of this case as well as general failures of the complaints procedures...[Continue]

FERN quits FSC over moves to certify carbon offsetsTags: Worldwide, Carbon offsets

In a further serious blow to FSC's credibility, a long-term key NGO supporter of the organistion, FERN, has announced the resignation of its membership.

FERN's reports on forest certifcation, such as Behind the Logo and Footprints in the Forest helped to prop up the FSC's credibility for the last decade. They were often cited by holders of FSC certificates as proof of solid NGO support for the organisation.

Now FERN has quit because, it says, "FSC's increased involvement in forest carbon offsetting breached one of the thresholds for continued FERN membership"...[Continue]

FSC "Greenwashing" Forest Exploitation in AfricaTags: Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa

On the eve of its 2011 General Assembly, FSC is facing a barrage of criticism as a result of failing to deal with the multiple problems that it has been presented with over the last decade. The growing sense amongst members, and especially NGOs, is that time has run out. Another of FSC's key NGO supporters has already recently quit.

This is the first in a series of special postings that will appear in the run-up to the Assembly. The article originally appeared in "All Africa".

Hilaire Avril 8 June 2011

Paris - "Eco-label fatigue" is setting in as green logging certification schemes are undermining proper government management of forest resources while "greenwashing" private ownership of these public resources, critics say...[Continue]

The timber may be certified: but is it sustainable?Tags: Cameroon, Brazil, Absence of national standards, All certifiers

The headline comes from a recent post on CIFOR's Forest Blog. CIFOR is the Centre for International Forestry Research. The blog post is based on research by one of CIFOR's scientists, Paolo Omar Cerutti, who was lead author of a recent paper published in Forest Policy and Economics: Legal vs...[Continue]

Clear-cuts for Ecotimber - more criticism of FSC, this time on German TVTags: Germany, Sweden, Certifier conflict of interest, FSC Secretariat, High Conservation Value Forests

On 14 February 2010, SWR, a German TV station broadcast a short film about FSC certification of clearcuts in Sweden.

The programme, Report Mainz, is available by clicking on the image below (only available in German):

UPDATE: 8 March 2011 - the video is now available with English subtitles:

The programme starts with an introduction to FSC...[Continue]

"Latvia's pulp fiction": AlJazeera programme on FSC and destructive logging in LatviaTags: Latvia, Corrective Action Requests, High Conservation Value Forests, Hoped-for improvements, Suspended certificates, Controlled wood, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

A programme this week on AlJazeera's People and Power reports on destructive logging in Latvia - including the fact that FSC-certified Latvian timber is still on sale in the UK, despite the fact that the FSC certified was suspended on 16 July 2010.

During 2009 and 2010, the FSC-certified Latvian state logging company, Latvijas Valsts Mezi, doubled the area of forest logged from 15,000 hectares to 30,000 hectares each year. Rainforest Alliance, the FSC certifying body, carried out an audit in June 2010, and found that "the harvesting level in 2009/2010 far exceed the long term sustainable level." As AlJazeera's film reveals, this is something of a euphemism...[Continue]

A new film exposing FSC: 'Sustainable on Paper'Tags: Brazil, Pesticides, Plantations, Indigenous Peoples, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor

A new film documents the problems with FSC. FSC-Watch will be posting several articles about this over the next few days. Meanwhile, here is FERN's description of the film in EU Forest Watch, January 2011. Below that is a trailer for the film.

'Sustainable on Paper'

Despite some plantations in Brazil being Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, they are nevertheless beset by problems. This is well-described in the film 'Sustainable on Paper' by freelance journalists Leo Broers and An-Katrien Lecluyse opening in Ghent, Belgium, 24 January 2011.[1]

Using the example of Brazilian-Scandinavian transnational Veracel, the film documents why many FSC-certified tree plantations are controversial...[Continue]

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