FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Laos: SmartWood certifies "village forestry"Tags: Laos, Tropical Forest Trust, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

In June 2006, I received a leaked report written by a consultant to a World Bank- Finnish government-funded "village forestry" project in Laos. About 50,000 hectares of the project area had been certified by SmartWood in January 2006. The report documented serious breaches of FSC principles and criteria, particularly the fact that the consultant found that logs were not marked properly. "Tracing and chain of custody of trees/logs is therefore impossible," commented the consultant...[Continue]

Cameroon: Wijma still certified, as official observer finds new illegalitiesTags: Cameroon, Corrective Action Requests, Wijma, Legality, Eurocertifor

The following article by Philippe Chibani-Jacquot first appeared on novethic.fr, in October, 2006 (*)

The decision to maintain the FSC label awarded to the first certified concession in Central Africa continues to make waves among environmentalists. The certification gained by the Wijma-Douala company is encouraging other companies to commence the same process.

Since December 2005, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a sustainable forest management label, has been facing criticism from the Cameroon NGO, the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED/Centre for the Environment and Development), Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth-France...[Continue]

'Abstention Protest' within FSC: Some Members refuse to vote for Board candidatesTags: Southern, Ecuador, FSC membership

A growing number of FSC members feel increasingly uncomfortable with the organisation's poor performance, indicated by numerous unacceptable certifications and lack of timely and effective action in solving problems. Some FSC members already sense that they are party to a 'deception of consumers' and have lost trust in the organisation that they have long supported as members.

What can you do as member of an organisation that you believe has gone out of control? Leaving would be one choice. Some still believe in the original aims of the FSC, and they don't want to leave the organisation...[Continue]

Aracruz, SmartWood, FSC and a conflict of interestTags: Brazil, Partial certification, Plantations, Certifier conflict of interest, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

In 2003, Brazil's Aracruz bought Klabin's Riocell pulp operations in Rio Grande do Sul. The 400,000 tonnes a year pulp mill came with 40,000 hectares of FSC-certified plantations.

Aracruz is among the most controversial pulp companies in the world. It has an ongoing dispute with indigenous people and quilombolas in Espirito Santo province. The company is currently carrying out a racist campaign aiming to turn the population of Espirito Santo against the indigenous people...[Continue]

Uruguay: FSC cannot guarantee peace of mindTags: Uruguay, Plantations, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood, SGS Qualifor

In July 2006, FSC put out a statement in response to World Rainforest Movement's publication "Greenwash: Critical analysis of FSC certification of industrial tree monocultures in Uruguay".

FSC's statement is titled, "FSC guarantees peace of mind to consumers". FSC based its statement on responses from the two certifying bodies involved, SmartWood and SGS.

But FSC's "Peace of mind" statement indicates clearly what's wrong with FSC. Instead of listening to its critics and investigating the problems described, FSC is listening to its certifying bodies, who have an interest in covering over any problems...[Continue]

Selling South Africa's Forests down the Elands RiverTags: South Africa, Plantations, Mixed sources labelling, SGS Qualifor

The following article first appeared in ‘noseweek’, December, 2005

With the year-end silly season just around the bend, NoseArk have turned our collective thoughts towards trees. Christmas trees, as you might have guessed.

A long-lost hippy connection of ours, last seen farming dirt under his toenails in the Eastern Cape, once told us that the reason pine trees came to be associated with Christmas was because, in northern Europe, they shelter hallucinogenic mushrooms...[Continue]

Slovakia - the 'race to the bottom' for FSC's certification standardsTags: Slovakia, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor, Soil Association Woodmark

The certification by the Soil Association in 2001 of Presov Forest District (PFD, part of the state forestry service) in Slovakia, has always been controversial.

Local environmental groups, such as WOLF/Friends of the Earth Slovakia have long argued that PFD was in gross non-compliance with the FSC's Principles and Criteria. They provided detailed, Principle-by-Principle critiques of PFD's operations, both before and after the certificate was issued, detailing multiple failures to comply with the P&C...[Continue]

The certified 'green desert' in the Emerald IsleTags: Ireland, SGS Qualifor, Soil Association Woodmark

This posting has been provided by 'Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders'

Coillte, the Irish State forestry company which has been FSC certified since 2001, owns 1.1 million acres of some of the wildest and most beautiful parts of Ireland, holding and managing the land in the name of the people of Ireland.

That’s the theory anyway.

Coillte was established under the 1988 Forestry Act, and came into being at the beginning of 1989. All forest land under control of the State's Land Commission was passed to the "semi-state" Coillte Teoranta...[Continue]

Certification in the Congo: a cause for celebration or confusion?Tags: Congo, Tropical Forest Trust, Greenpeace, SGS Qualifor

Along with WWF, Greenpeace recently joined a 'love-in' with African rainforest logger, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), to celebrate the arrival into Switzerland of the first shipment of CIB's FSC-certified timber.

But some people may be a bit surprised by Greenpeace's inclination to celebrate this event: in 2005, Greenpeace issued a detailed critique of CIB's plans to get their 267,000 hectare concession certified, which followed a multi-disciplinary visit organised by Greenpeace to the CIB concession in December 2004, as CIB were preparing to be assessed...[Continue]

Illegal logging in Papua New Guinea: who do we believe? Greenpeace, SGS, or the World Bank?Tags: Papua New Guinea, Greenpeace, SGS Qualifor

In August 2006, the World Bank reported that the level of illegal logging in Papua New Guinea could be as much as be 70 percent.

A mere two months later, the FSC accredited certifier SGS maintains that all log exports from PNG are fully legal - and have been for the last 12 years. The article below is from the PNG newspaper The National, which happens to be owned by Rimbunan Hijau, one of PNGs largest loggers...[Continue]

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