FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

How Accreditation Services International (FSC-ASI) allows certifiers to break FSC's rules and issue certificates to non-compliant companiesTags: Ireland, Accreditation controls, Soil Association Woodmark

In the past, FSC-Watch has been welcoming towards the work of Accreditation Services International (ASI), the FSC body which is supposed to ensure that the FSC's Principles and Criteria are upheld by the accredited certifiers. There is no doubt that monitoring of the certifiers has improved in recent years. But, for every audit of the certifiers carried out by ASI, there has been a failure to take meaningful action - even in cases where certifiers have been found by ASI to have issued certificates to blatantly non-compliant forest managers...[Continue]

How the FSC broke, then further weakened, its rules on pesticidesTags: Ireland, Pesticides, Accreditation controls, national initiatives, Plantations, Soil Association Woodmark

In December 2006, FSC-Watch reported on how the FSC had bowed to pressure from the plantation industry to 'freeze' implementation of its pesticides policy, which prohibits the use of a chemicals included on FSC's 'banned' list. Under a decision taken by the International Board, FSC decided to extend until the end of June 2007 the deadline by which forestry companies had to apply for special 'derogation' permission to continue using banned chemicals...[Continue]

FSC certification of US public forest lands: the warnings from MichiganTags: USA, Certifier conflict of interest, Accreditation controls, SCS

Debate is growing in the US about the certification of public forests with FSC and the so-called Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) being the front-running schemes. There are good reasons to question whether, in its current state, FSC is an appropriate tool for certification of the vast areas of forest which are in state and federal public ownership in the US, and which in many cases have very high values for recreational, cultural and nature protection purposes. Some of the potential problems are starkly illustrated by one of the existing major FSC certifications of public forest lands, that of the 1.6 million hectares of the Michigan state forests as managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)...[Continue]

"Forest liars" campaign launched against environmental groups supporting FSCTags: Worldwide, FSC membership, Rainforest Action Network, WWF

Recently, Glen Barry of the Ecological Internet, launched an email action against organisations that support FSC. "Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network, NRDC, Forest Ethics, Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Alliance were called upon to immediately end their support for the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) greenwashing of first time logging of primary and old-growth forests", states Barry in a press release...[Continue]

Military Police violently evict women protesters from Stora Enso's plantations in BrazilTags: Brazil, Plantations

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]

FSC wood debacle lands city authority in courtTags: USA, Brazil, Procurement policies, Mixed sources labelling, SCS, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

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]

Ireland: 'Remove FSC accreditation from Irish Forestry Certification Initiative'Tags: Ireland, Absence of national standards, national initiatives

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]

Accreditation Services International: A watchdog with neither bark nor biteTags: Uganda, Accreditation controls, Corrective Action Requests, SGS Qualifor

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]

FSC acknowledges system flawed by 'conflict of interest'Tags: Worldwide

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]

Rainforest 'Death' Alliance SmartWood targeted in protest at ancient forest destructionTags: Certifier conflict of interest, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

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]

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