Earlier this year, we reported that Rainforest Alliance SmartWood was in the process of consulting about whether it should start a new 'Legality Verification' scheme for timber. Our opinion was that the Rainforest Alliance's previous track-record of detecting illegality had been so dismal that there is no reason to believe that they are capable of identifying even gross breaches of the law. Now we have received information of yet another case where SmartWood appears to have 'turned a blind eye' to serious illegalities in one of the logging companies it has certified under the FSC scheme...[Continue]
We are taking the liberty of reproducing here a powerful personal insight into the proposed FSC certification of Brazilian eucalyptus plantation company, Veracel, which was published in the latest edition of the bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement.
The certifying firm SGS has launched a consultation process for the FSC certification of Veracel Celulose's eucalyptus plantations. This company is owned by the Swedish-Finnish company Stora Enso and the Norwegian-Brazilian company Aracruz Celulose and its plantations are established on 78,000 hectares of land in the extreme south of the State of Bahia...[Continue]
Earlier this year, we reported on the 'anomalous' circumstances surrounding the certification of Wijma, a company logging in the rainforests of Cameroon. Wijma's certifier, Bureau Veritas was 'suspended' because of Wijma's certificate, though the certificate itself was allowed to remain in place. Now we learn that, in a complete reversal, Burea Veritas has been 're-accredited' to FSC, but Wijma has mysteriously disappeared off the list of currently certified companies...[Continue]
The US-based 'e-activist' network Ecological Internet has launched a letter-writing campaign aimed at Greenpeace, asking them to withdraw their support for FSC-certified 'ancient forest logging'. The campaign demands that Greenpeace publishes a report on 'problematic' FSC certificates, which is believed to have been under investigation by the green group for many months. The new campaign is specifically directed at Grant Rosoman, of Greenpeace New Zealand, who is asked to resign as Chair of FSC's international Board. Greenpeace's forest activists worldwide are also being targetted, and are likely to received many thousands of protest e-mails...[Continue]
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]
FSC-Watch has reported several times on the on-going problems with the FSC certification of the Irish state forestry company, Coillte. The conflict over this particular certificate is but one of many such conflicts worldwide, but in some ways it exemplifies the worst of the FSC. Amongst Irish stakeholders, the FSC is becoming a bye-word for incompetence, foot-dragging and obstruction. FSC's activities in Ireland have now sparked a formal complaint though, as FSC-Watch has reported, given the state of FSC's complaints' procedures, it is difficult to see how or if this could bring a satisfactory resolution to a problem that has now been festering for nearly 8 years...[Continue]
A little-known study that first appeared last year shows what some environmentalists have been saying for years - that most timber exploitation in the Amazon is not 'sustainable', and does not prevent deforestation but actually promotes it. The new findings will likely lead to calls for tighter controls or even complete prohibition on 'certification' of logging operations in such regions.
The study, entitled 'Condition and fate of logged forests in the Brazilian Amazon', which was published in August 2006 in the prestigious Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences, is based on multi-year analysis of high resolution satellite data...[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]
Earlier this year, FSC-Watch reported on the curious circumstances surrounding the 'suspension' of Bureau Veritas's (BV) accreditation by FSC for, as yet unrevealed, problems with the certification of the Cameroonian rainforest logging company, Wijma. We now learn that, whilst Bureau Veritas remains prohibited from carrying out FSC certifications in Cameroon, it has just started the process of trying certify the massive logging operations of Rougier, in neighbouring Gabon...[Continue]
In his long and thoughtful comment to an earlier FSC-Watch posting on 'Legality Verification', Jeff Hayward, Lead Auditor for SmartWood, concluded by saying "we look forward to further inputs. We believe in a transparent consultation process; this is healthy and constructive." In that spirit, FSC-Watch is hereby providing further, transparent, input.
We believe that, first and foremost, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood should consider its previous track record before entering into the thorny area of legality verification...[Continue]