Following FSC-Watch's post questioning FSC's position on genetically modified trees, (and an article in the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin), the Stop GE Trees Campaign has written to Heiko Liedeker requesting clarification. Copies of the letter have also been sent to FSC's Board and to Andre de Freitas, FSC's Head of Policy and Standards...[Continue]
OECD: timber certification sets bad example for biofuels. FSC also under attack from Australia, Finland, Canada, US?Tags: Worldwide, Biofuels
A new report for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has cast serious doubts about the prospects for certification of biofuels, pointing to the failures of timber certification. The report, entitled 'Biofuels: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease' (available for download below), was presented to the OECD's Round Table on Sustainable Development in Paris in September. It warns that timber certification has failed after many years to come up with credible Chain of Custody systems. The report also point out that certification doesn't necessarily help to address the underlying problems of either non-sustainable timber or biofuel production because the problem simply gets displaced elsewhere...[Continue]
FSC's new 'Global Strategy': a recipe for disaster?Tags: Worldwide, Strategic planning, Certifier conflict of interest
The FSC is currently consulting on the preparation of a new 'Global Strategy' that will guide the organisation for the next 5 years (the strategy is, we learn, open for public consultation only until June 15th although, given that many FSC stakeholders seem to have found out about this only very late in the day, we hope that FSC will extend this deadline). A full copy of the draft strategy is available for download at the end of this posting.
The fact that FSC is looking to adopt a global strategy is no bad thing, and the fact that this is being done transparently is a vast improvement on previous strategic planning processes, such as happened in 1998, when a strategic plan was secretly developed and adopted without even the FSC's members being aware of it...[Continue]
One of the essential components of a credible certification scheme is that there must be some kind of mechanism such that stakeholders who dispute decisions about certification standards, specific certificates or other matters, can challenge them and seek redress. FSC's handling of complaints has been abysmal for many years, but now it seems to be in total disarray. Apart from anything else, FSC is probably not currently compliant with the requirements of ISEAL, the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance, to which the FSC is affiliated...[Continue]
FSC: 10 unanswered questions. And one new one.Tags: Worldwide, FSC Secretariat, Tropical Forest Trust
One of things that we at FSC-Watch worry about is that the FSC seems to have such a poor memory - so poor, in fact, that it keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. So, to help it along, we are issuing here a list of some of the questions we have asked over the last few months, and that have never been answered. And we have an important new question too.
In what sense is wood covered by the 'Controlled Wood Standard' actually 'controlled', and by whom?
When is a murder not 'violent'? (This is a 'trick' question, so we'll give you the answer: when it's got anything to do with a company that the Tropical Forest Trust is aiming to massage through the FSC certification process)...[Continue]
Hard-up certifier seeks job 'on the side'Tags: Worldwide, Certifier conflict of interest, All certifiers, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood
Up until a few years ago, FSC's accredited certifiers were prohibited from certifying for other forest certification schemes, because of the obvious conflict of interest that this would represent. But, as has been the way of things in the FSC, such a ban represented an obstacle to the increase of the certifiers' profits, and was therefore duly done away with. (One of the more bizarre justifications offered for this profound weakening of the FSC's rules, from the now Chair of FSC's Board, Grant Rosoman, was that, if the certifiers were prohibited from 'moonlighting' for other schemes, then they would simply set up nominally separate organisations to get around this rule...[Continue]
FSC-Watch was interested to learn recently that FSC Executive Director, Heiko Liedeker, has joined the Steering Board of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), which is based in the Federal Polytechnic (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland.
According to its website, the newly established RSB "is a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop international standards for sustainable biofuels production and processing, hosted by the Energy Center at EPFL. The Roundtable will bring together non-governmental organizations, companies, governments, inter-governmental organizations, experts, and other concerned parties to draft principles and criteria to ensure that biofuels deliver on their promise of sustainability."
Liedeker will be joined on the Steering Board of the RSB by luminaries including Claude Martin, former Director General of WWF (under whose leadership WWF moved ever closer to the interests of the corporate sector); Rolf Hartl, of the Federation of Swiss Oil Companies; and Rebecca Heaton of BP...[Continue]
The FSC is set to continue on its seemingly inexorable slide into becoming a 'self-certification' system with new changes to the Chain of Custody procedures. As announced in the most recent FSC Newsletter (see below), the FSC is currently piloting what are called 'multi-site' procedures, in which the FSC's accredited certifiers would not actually check all the relevent company facilities in order to issue a Chain of Custody certificate.
This will add a further layer of discredit to what is already an opaque, muddled and highly doubtful system...[Continue]
FSC back-tracking on pesticides; Board caves in to industry pressure?Tags: Worldwide, Ireland, Pesticides
As with the development of many other FSC policies, the finalisation of its policy on the use of pesticides has been long and complicated. But at least it seemed to have come to a fairly clear result, when a new policy, and clear guidelines for implementing it, were adopted by the FSC Board at the end of 2005. But this has again all been thrown into doubt, following the most recent FSC Board meeting, which was attended and heavily lobbied by an industry delegation.
Under the rules established in 2005, substances that are defined as ‘highly hazardous’ are ‘banned’ from use in FSC-certified forests...[Continue]
Reforming the FSC by Competitive TenderingTags: Worldwide, Certifier conflict of interest, All certifiers
One the major structural problems that seems to underlie much of what is going wrong in the FSC is that contracts for certification assessments are arranged directly between logging companies and the FSC's accredited certifiers. Because of this - and especially because the award of a certificate will ensure future profits for the certifiers from monitoring and re-assessments - certifiers have a strong financial incentive to award certificates even when the logging company does not comply with the FSC's Principles and Criteria.
Another consequence is that certifiers are effectively competing with each other to show that they are the most likely to award a certificate - and the way that they do this is by lowering their assessment standards, 'turning a blind eye' to any major problems that they find, or taking a very 'sympathetic' view towards the company under scrutiny...[Continue]
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