In the following contribution, Philip Owen of Southern African NGO GeaSphere, reports on the ecological devastation caused by the FSC certified industrial plantations in South Africa. The article illustrates the problems in one particular site, certified by the 'Soil Association' WoodMark, which overall has certified nearly 500,000 hectares of plantations in South Africa. Readers will not miss the irony that one of the major impacts has been on the soils of the region, and will no doubt question how such an operation could be certified by an organisation which purports to be concerned with the conservation of the world's soil...[Continue]
A final blow has been dealt to the credibility of the now 'self-suspended' FSC certifier SGS, by a Brazilian Federal court decision that nearly one hundred thousand hectares of eucalyptus plantation owned by SGS-certified company Veracel were planted illegally and will have to be torn down within 12 months. The company has also been ordered to pay $12 million in fines for causing environmental damage.
Given the seriousness of the failures with the Veracel certification, combined with what have evidently been gross certification failures in other countries including Guyana, Spain and Poland, FSC-Watch believes that the FSC Secretariat should now impose a global and indefinite suspension on SGS's FSC accreditation...[Continue]
In a shock announcement, South Africa-based SGS Qualifor - FSC's second largest certifier - has said that it has taken a 'business decision' not to issue any further FSC forest management certificates, pending a 'review' of it's forest management certification processes. The announcement, made on the FSC's website, is believed to pre-empt an imminent decision by the FSC Secretariat to formally suspend SGS's accreditation worldwide...[Continue]
In 2007, SGS Qualifor certified Mount Elgon National Park as "well managed" under the FSC system. Accreditation Services International found that SGS Qualifor's certification 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 Qualifor.
In February 2008, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the agency responsible for managing Uganda's national parks, evicted more than 4,000 people from the indigenous Benet and Ndorobo communities living in Mount Elgon National Park...[Continue]
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and Greenpeace Nordic recently filed a formal complaint with FSC about the logging operations of SCA in northern Sweden. SSNC and Greenpeace Nordic's press release is posted below. The organisations are demanding that SCA's certificate be withdrawn.
These photographs were taken of SCA's logging operations at Ratnivaara, where SCA has already logged 30 hectares of high conservation value forest and is planning to clearcut a further 50 hectares (click on the photographs for larger versions - photos © Olli Manninen):
The following photographs were taken at Norrmyrberget, where SCA has clearcut 28 hectares of mixed coniferous and deciduous forest...[Continue]
Galician environmental group the Association for the Ecological Defence of Galicia (ADEGA) has announced the withdrawal of its support to FSC, at least until the the certificate of NORFOR, ENCE's eucalyptus plantation operation, is cancelled.
ADEGA was the only major Galician NGO that continued supporting FSC after the Galician environmental movement as a whole withdraw its support to the certificate in 2006...[Continue]
Galician environmental group Verdegaia and a confederation of 300 environmental groups from Spain have demanded that the the FSC certificate of eucalyptus plantation company NORFOR should be immediately cancelled.
As FSC-Watch has previously reported, the certificate has already been the subject of a formal complaint. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in no action by FSC - though FSC continues to maintain the fiction that it has an effective complaints procedure...[Continue]
The FACE Foundation, a Dutch carbon offset company, claims on its website that its tree planting projects at Mount Elgon and Kibale national parks in Uganda are both certified by FSC. While Mount Elgon is FSC certified (despite major, ongoing land disptues), the FACE Foundation's project at Kibale is no longer FSC certified...[Continue]
World Rainforest Movement expresses strong criticism of the FSC in its statement reacting to the news that Veracel's monoculture eucalyptus plantations are now FSC certified. WRM notes that Veracel is the "last piece in a chain of failures" by FSC.
At the time of the company's assessment by SGS in September 2007, WRM warned that the possible certification of Veracel placed FSC 'at the crossroads'...[Continue]
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]