Press release from World Rainforest Movement, 17 September 2007:
FSC at a crossroad:
Veracel timber certification would be yet another disaster for FSC
The wood-pulp producing company Veracel has applied for FSC certification of its tree plantations in the Brazilian state of Bahia and the evaluation process is being carried out by the international certification firm SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance). Veracel, a joint venture between Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso and Norwegian-Brazilian Aracruz Cellulose exports almost all the pulp produced in Brazil to overseas markets, where it is converted into paper...[Continue]
"Use of genetically modified organisms shall be prohibited," states Criterion 6.8 of FSC's Principles and Criteria. That appears to be clear. Strictly interpreted this would mean that a company carrying out laboratory research into GE trees (and/or financing such research) should not be certified under the FSC system, because that would involve the use of genetically modified organisms. Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, FSC's Certification Bodies (assessors) don't
take such a strict interpretation of criterion 6.8...[Continue]
Philip Owen of Geasphere in South Africa circulated this statement and article about the impacts of Sappi's FSC-certified plantations on the water flow in the Sudwala Caves.
Here's what Sappi's plantations look like - it's difficult to imagine that anything could be more of a monoculture:
Dear FSC Stakeholders
With the International Symposium on Plantation certification to be held in Stellenboch, South Africa later this month I would like to direct your attention to the following matter...[Continue]
Last week, an interesting article appeared in the Swiss newspaper, the Tagesanzeiger. FC Zurich has just opened a new stadium, called the Letzigrund. The city promised an ecological stadium, but the wood used is not FSC certified. WWF claims that without an FSC certificate, there is no guarantee that the wood doesn't come from destructive operations ("Raubbau" in German).
The wood used is Robinia pseudoacacia from Hungary. Gerriet Harms, the owner of the firm that supplied the wood, denies that the wood comes from Raubbau and argues that it's better to use "controlled" hardwood from Central Europe than to use FSC-certified tropical hardwood...[Continue]
The government of Swaziland declared a national emergency earlier this month after fierce fires swept northern parts of the country, killing dozens of people and livestock and destroying hundreds of homes. The fires started in the FSC-certified plantations run by the Mondi company in the Piggs Peaks region, and also affected part of an FSC-certified plantation owned by another South African pulp and paper conglomerate, Sappi...[Continue]
This month's WRM Bulletin includes an editorial about FSC's certification of industrial tree plantations and two articles about the assessment of Veracel, which is currently being carried out by SGS. The editorial and the two articles are reproduced in full below:
From WRM Bulletin 121 - August 2007
And here's what Veracel's plantations look like:
FSC Certification of Veracel: A turning point or business as usual?
For over a decade WRM has been gathering, producing and disseminating information and analysis on the social and environmental impacts of fast wood plantations, characterized as large-scale, fast-growth tree monocultures...[Continue]
In the New Jersey town of Ocean City, controversy has been raging about the City Council's planned use of more than a hundred thousand board feet of FSC-certified rainforest timber. The City Council is planning to use the Amazonian wood ipe (pronounced 'ee-pay') for a major renewal of its sea-front boardwalks. Many local people - supported by the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club - are opposed to the use of rainforest timber, and have been asking the City Council to use more environmentally acceptable alternatives...[Continue]
Following queries from FSC-Watch, WWF International has asked us to 'correct' the article we posted a few days ago concerning the scandalous certification of Forestal Venao, Peru. In fact, WWF's helpful clarification of its role does not require us to 'correct' the article, but we are anyway happy to include the WWF response below in full.
As readers will see, WWF's response not only confirms what we published earlier, but also corroborates from another source that SmartWood was well aware of serious concerns about Venao before they issued their certificate - but proceded to issue it nevertheless...[Continue]
The Norwegian government has decided that it it cannot rely on any certification system, not even the FSC, to help implement it's newly announced 'ethical procurement' policy. The Norwegian authorities instead decided to ban all use of tropical timber in public buildings, stating that "The government wants to stop all trade with unsustainably or illegally logged tropical forest products. Today there is no international or national certification that can guarantee in a reliable manner that imported wood is legally and sustainably logged"...[Continue]
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]