Today, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telepak release a report about illegal logging in the Mekong Region. The report, titled "Borderlines: Vietnam's Booming Furniture Industry and Timber Smuggling in the Mekong Region" documents how timber is illegally transported from Laos to Vietnam, where it is made into furniture. Furniture exports from Vietnam are expanding dramatically, relying on huge quantities of illegally-logged timber from Laos and Cambodia...[Continue]
One of FSC's long-term NGO supporters, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), has said that it will immediately withdraw from the national FSC initiative, noting that "forest certification not good enough". The announcement yesterday from Sweden will be another major blow to FSC: at nearly 11 million hectares, the country has the third largest certified area, after Canada and Russia. Following SSNC's observation that the Swedish FSC standard "is weak [and] the lack of observance is substantial", the credibility of more than 10 per cent of FSC's global total is now called into question...[Continue]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]