FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

The scandal of Asia Plywood Company in Sarawak, Wickes, B&Q, SCS and FSCTags: Malaysia, Chain of Custody, Mixed sources labelling, Misleading claims, SCS

B&Q and Wickes, two of Britain's biggest DIY stores, have been caught selling plywood falsely labelled as FSC certified.

The company selling the plywood, Asia Plywood Company, is the largest exporter of Meranti wood and plywood in Malaysia. The website Sarawak Report explains that Asia Plywood Company got its FSC certificate not for the timber it logs in Sarawak, but "by pledging that at least 70% of the content of its finished plywood was now being sourced from New Zealand plantation pine."

In fact, the plywood on sale in the UK was "almost completely made up of tropical hardwood, such as meranti wood," Sarawak Report notes...[Continue]

FSC Sweden: "I wish we had more backbone"Tags: Sweden, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor

The myth of sustainable FSC certified logging in Sweden is explored in a new article, Sweden's Green Veneer Hides Unsustainable Logging Practices on Yale 360, by journalist and photographer, Erik Hoffner.

The article describes the growing consensus that the "Swedish model" of forestry is failing to protect biodiversity, and old growth forests continue to be clear-cut, including those with FSC certification. With 10 million hectares certified, or 45% of its total forest, Sweden has one of the largest areas of FSC certified logging...[Continue]

SIFORCO in DR Congo: the continuing bloodstain on the FSC and its 'Controlled Wood' policyTags: Democratic Republic of Congo, Controlled wood, Greenpeace, Complaints procedures, Policy of Association, SGS Qualifor

In June of this year, we reported on the shocking atrocities against local communities happening in two FSC 'Controlled Wood' certified logging operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of the two companies concerned, SODEFOR, had, by the time we reported, already had its certificate 'suspended', and was the subject of a formal complaint submitted by Greenpeace. The other, SIFORCO, remains certified (by SGS) to this day, but has also recently had a complaint filed against it by Greenpeace...[Continue]

IKEA supplier Swedwood in Karelia: TV documentary exposes impacts of FSC certified clear-cuts in HCV forestsTags: Russia, High Conservation Value Forests, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Another news documentary causing embarrassment to the FSC appears in its home country, exposing the questionable practices of certified companies. ARD's Plus-minus programme travelled to Russian Karelia to inspect the forestry practices of IKEA subsidiary and timber supplier, Swedwood. What it found there was not pretty. As the documentary points out, Swedwood's large clear-cuts in 'old growth' forest appear to breach FSC's requirements concerning the treatment of High Conservation Value forest. The use of heavy machinery on vulnerable soils could have a lasting impact...[Continue]

New video exposes FSC failure to uphold the Principles and Criteria: 'Is FSC the right choice?'Tags: Worldwide, South Africa, Plantations

Geasphere the NGO working in South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland dedicated to the protection of ecological integrity, has released a new short video explaining why FSC's certification of plantations in South Africa are in clear contravention of the FSC's Principles and Criteria, and how the P&C themselves are defective in ensuring that FSC certifed timber is "environmentally appropriate".

Taking us on a tour of some of the South African landscapes devastated by industrial plantations, the video explains how FSC's Principle 10 is inadequate to ensure that certified plantations are not responsible for destruction of non-forest ecosystem, such as grasslands, even if these are more biodiverse than local forests...[Continue]

New Forests Company plantation in Uganda - FSC files a complaint against itselfTags: Uganda, Plantations, Accreditation controls, ASI, SGS Qualifor

The FSC sank to new levels of farce this week with a decision that in effect means that the organisation has lodged a complaint against itself.

As we reported a week ago an investigation by Oxfam has revealed that the FSC-certified New Forests Company in Uganda has been responsible for eviction of 22,500 people from their land. In addition to the video news piece about Oxfam's report produced by the Guardian, Al Jazeera TV also reported on the evictions, including interviews with Kate Geary of Oxfam and Robert Devereux, the Chairman of New Forests Company...[Continue]

What FSC, Greenpeace and Environmental Investigation Agency have to say about Rainforest Alliance's $390,000 'gifts' from GibsonTags: USA, Controlled wood, Greenpeace, EIA, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Oxfam report: 22,500 people evicted to make way for FSC certified plantations in UgandaTags: Uganda, Carbon offsets, Plantations, Accreditation controls, SGS Qualifor

On 22 September 2011, Oxfam released a report about a UK-based company called New Forests. Oxfam's researchers visited the company's plantations in Uganda and found that more than 22,000 people were kicked off the land to make way for the company's monocultures. Oxfam made public what FSC's certifying body, SGS, had somehow managed to ignore for the past two years. Accreditation Services International (ASI) in turn found out nothing about the evictions when it carried out an audit of SGS in 2010. New Forests Company has put out a statement explaining that it "takes Oxfam’s allegations extremely seriously and will conduct an immediate and thorough investigation"...[Continue]

Gibson Guitars: where have all the fleas come from?Tags: USA, Controlled wood, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

In one of the political blogs still commenting on the US Fish and Wildlife Service's second raid on Gibson Guitars for possible contraventions of the Lacey Act, Republican pundit Andrew M. Langer, berating Gibson for "consorting with environmentalists", refers to an old saying that "if you lie down with dogs be prepared to get up with fleas"...[Continue]

Gibson Guitars fiasco raises new questions about integrity of Rainforest AllianceTags: USA, Legality, Tropical Forest Trust, Controlled wood, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

The raiding of Gibson Guitars in Tennessee in August by US Federal Fish and Wildlife officials for suspected violations of the Lacey Act - which forbids US companies from importing wood obtained from illegal sources - has once again cast a very hard light on the FSC system, and in particular on the Rainforest Alliance, whose SmartWood scheme is the FSC's most prolific issuer of FSC certificates. An October 2nd article (which we reproduce in full below), published in the 'Tennessean' newspaper, has opened new revelations about the relationship between Gibson and the Alliance, which sound loud alarm bells about the 'independence' of the certifier...[Continue]

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