It was announced today that FSC’s largest certificate for tropical forest management, had been suspended. The certificate, issued by SGS-Qualifor to the Barama company, the Guyanese subsidiary of the controversial Malaysian-based logging transnational, Samling, was put on hold following an investigation by the FSC’s Accreditation Service International (ASI) in November 2006.
The announcement will come as a particular embarrassment to WWF. In March 2006, when Barama received their certificate, WWF proclaimed it as a "record-setting accomplishment for tropical forest conservation in South America"...[Continue]
Subject: FSC in Laos
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 09:52:45 +0100
From: Chris Lang
To: Richard Donovan (Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood)
CC: smartwood@....id, FSC-Watch, Ricardo Carrere (WRM)
Dear Mr Donovan,
On 2 October 2006, you and Loy Jones (Asia Pacific Regional Manager, Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood) issued a statement about an article I'd written for the World Rainforest Movement...[Continue]
Since 1994, a Dutch organisation called the FACE Foundation has been planting trees in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda. The FACE Foundation aims to sell carbon credits based on the amount of carbon stored in the trees planted. FACE aims to plant a total of 25,000 hectares of which 8,500 hectares has been planted.
In Uganda, the FACE Foundation works with the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA), the organisation responsible for managing Uganda's National Parks.
In March 2002, SGS Qualifor certified the UWA-FACE project under the FSC system...[Continue]
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]
For only the second time in its 13-year history, the FSC has suspended the accreditation of one of its certifiers.
However, as with most of FSC's dealings with the certifiers, the reasons for the suspension of the Swiss based Institut für Marktökologie (IMO), on 22nd September, are not entirely clear. All that the FSC Secretariat has said is that the decision was taken against IMO "for performing new evaluations and issuing new FSC forest management certificates in Chile" - and even this information was buried in an unassuming document on FSC's website...[Continue]
When Soil Association WoodMark re-certified the 10,000 hectares of Masarykův les Křtiny (ŠLP), a State-owned forest in the Czech Republic in 2004 (which had first been certified in 1997), one of the notable features of the Public Summary report was the number of times in which the phrase “to be implemented immediately on certification” was used in relation to the numerous Corrective Action Requests issued. In other words, SLP had not actually achieved whatever standards WoodMark used to assess them (there was no national FSC Standard in the Czech Republic at the time of the assessment), but would hopefully achieve them afterwards...[Continue]
Some readers of FSC-Watch will no doubt have been surprised to learn that the UK-based NGO Soil Association has, through it's subsidiary certification body WoodMark, started the process of certifying parts of the notorious Indonesian plantation company Perhutani.
More surprising still, perhaps, is the news that WWF has also been collaborating with Perhutani, which stands accused of gross human rights violations. WWF recently allowed Perhutani to join the prestigious Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) - though WWF have not disclosed how much money Perhutani have paid for this privilege...[Continue]
In September 2006, WWF and the large German tropical logging company Danzer issued the joint press release below, announcing Danzer’s intention to obtain FSC certification. The announcement stated that Danzer’s operations in the Republic of Congo were ‘scheduled’ to be certified in 2008, whilst the larger concessions in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would be certified in 2010.
This is curious for several reasons. Firstly, it assumes that Danzer’s compliance with the FSC’s Principles and Criteria is a foregone conclusion, and merely a matter of ‘scheduling’ the certification...[Continue]
Arguably, the National Initiatives (NIs) have been amongst the most successful parts of the FSC ‘project’: some NIs have genuinely brought together disparate interests to find acceptable compromises, which have allowed for national or regional standards to be developed. These national standards are a key element in ensuring that what the FSC’s accredited certifiers certify is acceptable to local ‘stakeholders’.
But this has not always been the case. One of FSC’s larger and most controversial certificates – that of Coillte in Ireland – was issued under a draft national standard which in turn had been produced by a dysfunctional national initiative, the Irish Forest Certification Initiative (IFCI)...[Continue]
Last month, FSC-Watch reported on the ‘race to the bottom’ of FSC standards for certification of the Presov Forest District in Slovakia.
The race has now been run, and the certificate – which was withdrawn only a few weeks ago by Soil Association WoodMark - has now been ‘re-awarded’ by SGS. One representative of the Slovak environmental movement has said that they are ‘sickened’ by this development, and have dismissed the certificate as “nothing but greenwashing”...[Continue]