On Tuesday, 4th March 2008, about 900 women from the International Peasant Movement Via Campesina were violently evicted by the Military Police from an area of 2,100 hectares of Stora Enso's plantations at the Tarumã Farm in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. According to a statement from Via Campesina about 60 women were badly injured and 800 were arrested. Meanwhile, 250 children at the camp were separated from their parents. Tents were destroyed and tools taken from the women.
The women were protesting against Stora Enso's monoculture eucalyptus plantations, which the company is currently establishing in Rio Grande do Sul...[Continue]
A US timber company is suing a New Jersey city authority over its cancellation of a controversial order of FSC certified lumber for repair of its ocean-front boardwalks. In the latest development in this long-running debacle, which has exposed gaping weaknesses in the FSC's Chain of Custody system, the Louis Grasmick Lumber company of Baltimore has said that it will sue the Ocean City authorities for $1.2 million
Local environmental campaigners have long opposed the use by Ocean City of Amazonian ipe wood for the city boardwalk renovation project...[Continue]
FSC-Watch has reported many times on the FSC credibility disaster that has been allowed to persist in Ireland for nearly a decade. Tellingly, despite the glaring failures, neither the FSC Secretariat, ASI, the international Board nor the national initiative itself have had to competence to put 'FSC Ireland' onto a credible path. Unsurprisingly, local NGOs are now totally exasperated. Even some parts of the private sector that entered the FSC process in good faith are now de-camping to PEFC instead...[Continue]
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]