As the FSC General Assembly opened in Cape Town, northern NGOs were falling over themselves to issue statements as to how the FSC should be 'reformed' - or to try to claim that it already has been - but the contradictory demands set out by these NGOs are likely to ensure that the FSC will continue to stumble towards chaos, irrelevance and non-credibility.
First amongst the NGO statements was the Brussels and UK-based FERN, in a statement issued jointly with Greenpeace, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), the Tropical Forest Trust and the African logging lobby organisation, the Inter-African Forest Industry Association (IFIA)...[Continue]
More than 3,600 organisations and individuals have signed on to World Rainforest Movement's letter to FSC members demanding that FSC should stop certifying industrial tree plantations. FSC-Watch looks forward to seeing FSC's response to the letter - preferably a decision to stop certifying environmentally and socially destructive monocultures. Today, WRM released the following press release:
WRM Press release, 3 November 2008
Forest Stewardship Council meeting in South Africa
NGOs call on FSC to stop certifying tree plantations
The General Assembly of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3-7 November...[Continue]
FSC members are becoming increasingly bemused by some of the 'side events' being set up for the General Assembly, including a seminar on 'Ecological Networks for Biodiversity Conservation', hosted by the South African plantations company, Mondi. But as the FSC slips ever further into blatant corporate-sponsored greenwashing, attendees will nevertheless have an opportunity to listen to an alternative viewpoint on FSC and plantations, to be presented at a 'non-official' side event hosted by local NGO Timberwatch, and the Global Forest Coalition...[Continue]
"Plantations are monocultures, created from seemingly endless rows of identical trees. They suck the water out of nearby streams and ponds and lower the water table, leaving little or no water for people living near the plantations. They deplete soils, pollute the environment with agrotoxics and eradicate biodiverse local ecosystems. Activists in Brazil call them the green desert because of the way they destroy local people's livelihoods and environments. But what's almost as bad as the plantations themselves is that this sort of plantation is given a green seal of approval by the Forest Stewardship Council."
This comes from a new World Rainforest Movement briefing titled "FSC certification of tree plantations needs to be stopped"...[Continue]
In July 2008, FSC announced that "SGS South Africa, an FSC accredited certification body, has made a business decision to adopt an open-ended moratorium on the issuance of new FSC forest management certificates." I wrote to FSC with some questions about the moratorium. FSC has so far declined to respond. The emails are below.
The "moratorium" did not prevent SGS from issuing certificates to clients with which SGS had already signed contracts. The "moratorium" did not apply to chain of custody certificates, which SGS continued to issue...[Continue]
Another of FSC's longest-term NGO supporters, the San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network has added itself to the list of NGOs expressing serious doubts about the FSC. In a new posting on RAN's website, the organisation's Programme Director, Jennifer Krill, states that the credibility of FSC "continues to be threatened". Krill specifically identifies the so-called Controlled Wood Standard as being problematic, and hints that RAN might withdraw its support for the organisation...[Continue]
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FoE EWNI) has confirmed that it no longer recognises the value of FSC certificates. FoE EWNI's website is now advising that FoE EWNI "is deeply concerned by the number of FSC certifications that are now sparking controversy and threatening the credibility of the scheme. We cannot support a scheme that fails to guarantee high environmental and social standards. As a result we can no longer recommend the FSC standard"...[Continue]
This month's World Rainforest Movement Bulletin focusses on the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations on 21 September. The Bulletin explains why a campaign against industrial tree plantations is important, includes materials for campaigns as well as news and analysis from around the world about struggles against plantations.
One article looks at FSC's record in certifying of plantations. If FSC is to take its own standards seriously, it must stop certifying monoculture tree plantations (a fully referenced version of this article is available here):
FSC: Stop certifying monoculture tree plantations!
By Chris Lang...[Continue]
FSC's forthcoming 3-yearly General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, looks like it will be a farcical exercise in corporate-sponsored public relations, whilst the disparity between what the organisation likes to think it is doing and what it is actually doing continues to grow.
Nothing illustrates FSC's absurd self-deception better than the field trip planned for the pleasure of assembly participants. FSC's invite to this promises that "FSC has organized a field trip to one of the most beautiful nature reserves near Cape Town - the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve...[Continue]
The controversy over SGS Qualifor's certification of Veracel deepened last week with two-pages of articles in the Brasil de Fato newspaper. The articles (in Portuguese, links below) note the recent court decision against Veracel, fining Veracel US$12.5 million and ruling that the company must remove eucalyptus trees covering an area of 96,000 hectares and replant native forest.
The articles also make several other serious criticisms of Veracel, based on an interview with Jo„o Alves da Silva, the public prosecutor in the town of EunŠpolis, Bahia state...[Continue]