Last year, Accreditation Services International (ASI) discovered that SGS's certification of Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda was based on hoped for future improvements, rather than what was actually happening in the National Park. ASI, however, failed to take any meaningful action against SGS.
FSC certification requires that the company certified complies with FSC's Principles and Criteria, at the time the certificate is issued. This is fundamental to the credibility of the FSC system.
In April 2007, ASI carried out an annual audit of SGS at Mount Elgon in Uganda...[Continue]
In a long article in the UK magazine 'Ethical Consumer', Andrei de Freitas - FSC's Head of Policy and Standards - has admitted that the FSC system does suffer from conflicts of interest, and that the FSC is 'not a failsafe system'.
FSC-Watch has consistently argued that one of the underlying reasons for the issuing of so many controversial certificates is because the accredited certification bodies contract directly with the forestry companies that they are supposedly independently assessing. Certifiers compete with other for business, and this encourages a 'race to the bottom' of certification standards, as forestry companies are likely to seek certifiers that have the laxest standards...[Continue]
Braving sub-zero temperatures and wearing gorilla and bird costumes, a group of New York City environmentalists rallied outside the headquarters of Rainforest Alliance last week, demanding an end to the organization's certification of old-growth industrial logging.
Rainforest Alliance was host to a 'Green Leaders' cocktail party and had prepared a statement repeating their position in favor of industrial logging of the worlds remaining old-growth forests. Environmental activists, including members of the New York Climate Action Group, engaged partygoers and passersby about the 'greenwash' of old-growth forest destruction by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood...[Continue]
The Białowieża forest in eastern Poland is the last remaining patch of ancient forest that once covered the Central European Plain. The forest is home to the European Bison, lynx and wolves. Tens of thousands of vast oak trees, up to 40 metres high mean that the timber industry is interested. A small area of the forest is a National Park. Plans to expand the National Park brought conservationists into conflict with local people who make their living through forestry jobs and collecting firewood, fruit and fungi in the forest - the conflict was partly as a result of misinformation spread by state forestry companies...[Continue]
The Galician environmental group Asociacion Pola Defensa da Ria (APDR) has submitted a formal complaint to the FSC about the certification of plantation company NORFOR and the assessment of it's certifier, SGS that was undertaken by FSC's Accreditation Services International. In their complaint, APDR argues that the FSC-ASI report on SGS's certification of NORFOR is not only of very low quality, but it also fails to address the majority of the criticisms of NORFOR presented by a number of NGOs...[Continue]
The most recent report of the official Independent Forest Monitor in Nicaragua, the London-based NGO Global Witness, has once again called into question the ability of FSC's accredited certifiers to detect illegalities in certified forestry operations. The December 2007 report notes that "The Monitor was not able to detect a significantly different level of legal compliance between certified and uncertified forest".
Global Witness has directly accused one of the certified operations, Hermanos Ubeda, of illegal logging...[Continue]
We have been asked to publish the following article, by Anthony Amis of Friends of the Earth Melbourne, Australia.
It highlights some now very familiar themes: failure of SmartWood to comply with the FSC's rules by not publishing its Public Summary reports in a timely manner: certification on the basis of 'hoped-for improvements' rather than performance, and covering up failures to actually improve by continually re-issuing 'Corrective Action Requests'; slowness of the ASI in publishing the reports of it's audits of certifiers where problems are identified...all of which is no doubt good for SmartWood's business, but bad for the FSC's credibility...[Continue]
In December 2007, the FSC announced that it was "dissociating" itself from the giant Sinar Mas-owned Indonesian paper company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) - see statement below. The news was mostly greeted by the environmental movement, though there is some suspicion that the FSC only took this unusual step because the possible certification of APP had been exposed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. WWF in particular has issued stinging reports of the company's greewashing of its destruction of forests to feed its pulp mill in Riau province, Sumatra...[Continue]
A few weeks ago, I visited Swaziland, as part of a trip with World Rainforest Movement colleagues. We visited Sappi's stinking, polluting Usutu pulp mill and drove through Sappi's pine monocultures - FSC certified by Woodmark.
Swaziland is a beautiful country...[Continue]
A few weeks ago, FSC-Watch reported that the Swedish Society for Nature conservation (SSNC) had made a formal complaint to FSC about SCA's logging operations in Northern Sweden. We've also raised concerns about WWF's close relationships with logging companies.
WWF, it seems, is getting very cosy with SCA. In September 2007, WWF and SCA Hygiene signed a £10 million marketing deal allowing SCA to put WWF's panda logo on its packs of Velvet toilet tissue...[Continue]