In November 2004, on a visit to Swaziland with Wally Menne of TimberWatch, I saw the destruction caused by fifty years of industrial forestry "development". Many of the plantations were established under a British "aid" programme run by the Colonial Development Corporation (now called CDC Group - a private equity company whose sole shareholder is the UK Department for International Development).
I saw Sappi's apparently endless pine monocultures and huge clearcuts...[Continue]
In February 2004, Hancock Victorian Plantations received Australia's first
FSC certification [certifier: SmartWood]. Many interested parties initially hoped that FSC would
deliver on what it promised and we would see a marked improvement in
Hancock's forest management practices. Those promises have not eventuated
and in many ways Hancock's forest management is getting worse not better...[Continue]
The Peoples' Permanent Tribunal* which has been investigating the social and environmental impacts of companies in Colombia, has recently heard evidence against a number of companies, including two that are certified by the FSC: Smurfit Kapa Cartón de Colombia and Pizano SA. (Smurfit was certified for FSC by SGS Qualifor; in contravention of FSC's requirements, there was no information about this certificate available on SGS's website at the date of this posting. Pizano was certified by SmartWood.)
The 'verdict' of the Tribunal's meeting in Colombia's Low Atrato region on 26-27 February 2007 included the following conclusions:
"The company Smurfit Kapa Cartón de Colombia was accused of the violation of human, environmental, social and cultural rights...[Continue]
On March 1st, FSC-Watch reported on the murder of a peasant by guards of the company Vallourec and Mannesman, which was certified for the FSC by SGS-Qualifor.
On 15th March, the company released the announcement below, in Portuguese, communicating "its voluntary decision to leave the FSC after 8 years of very close relationship". The reason the company gives in the release is that it does not agree with the way the audit was carried out by the certifying body (SGS)...[Continue]
The following letter recently appeared in the Irish newspaper, the Examiner.
It paints a disturbing picture of the environmental impact of the FSC-certified state forestry company, Coillte, which controls around 400,000 hectares of land in Ireland. FSC-Watch has reported on Coillte several times in the past - but the certificate remains as a stain on FSC's credibility.
It has also brought into doubt the credibility of Soil Association Woodmark, which took over the certificate from SGS in 2004, and re-issued the certficate in 2005...[Continue]
Launching an appeal to help save Sweden's remaining old-growth forests, the NGO network Skydda Skogen (Protect the Forest) has said that "major violations against the FSC standard are made by FSC-certified forest companies in Sweden." In its website, Skydda Skogen goes on to say:
"Many of the Swedish forest companies are certified by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) but researches made by Swedish NGOs show that major violations against the FSC standard are made by the companies...[Continue]
FSC-Watch has received the following communication* from Rede Alerta Contra o Deserto Verde (Action Network Against Green Deserts), Brazil, concerning the shooting dead of a local peasant by the armed guards of Vallourec Mannesman, a eucalyptus plantation company in Minas Gerais state, Brazil, certified for the FSC by SGS.
Below the communication from Green Deserts is an article from Red Pepper magazine from 2006 which describes some of the context of this new FSC-certified atrocity...[Continue]
FSC-Watch has previously reported on the highly controversial certification of Wijma, a company logging in the rainforests of Cameroon which the independent observer of forests in that country has repeatedly found to be involved in illegalities.
The certification has now led to the suspension of Wijma's certifer, Bureau Veritas (formerly Eurocertifor). We have been asked to post the following article, which is submitted by Danielle van Oijen, Forest Campaigner, Milieudefensie / Friends of The Earth Netherlands...[Continue]
A couple of weeks ago, FSC-Watch received this email from Wally Menne of TimberWatch in South Africa. It raises an interesting point - the FSC International Secretariat produces almost exclusively good news, no matter what is happening in the outside world. So far, Wally has not received either a reply or an acknowledgment of his email. We will, of course, be happy to post FSC's response when it appears.