In May 2008, the US government enacted a revision to the Lacey Act, a hundred year-old piece of legislation that renders it illegal to trade in goods in the US which are from illegal sources, which now makes the Act applicable to the timber trade. Whilst timber traders are no doubt hoping that use of FSC certified wood is going to keep them out of prison, they may be in for a nasty shock.
This year's revision to the Act came about through a long lobbying campaign by US environmental groups, who were also joined by the US wood industry and labour organisations in seeking to exclude illegally acquired wood from outside the US...[Continue]
A new report from Greenpeace published this month confirms what this website has been warning for nearly two years: that the FSC's so-called Controlled Wood Policy is a shambles, and is allowing wood from highly unacceptable sources into the FSC certified chain of custody.
The report, called 'Out of Control' (available here - pdf file, 3Mb), follows detailed investigations into several logging operations in Finland over the last two years, during which all major paper companies have been audited against the FSC Controlled Wood standard...[Continue]
An FSC label on paper products should ensure that the paper is produced from "environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests". At least that's what it says in the introduction to FSC's Principles and Criteria. The unfortunate reality is that FSC has certified some of the most egregious industrial tree plantations in the world.
I'm currently putting the finishing touches to a report for the World Rainforest Movement looking at Europe's role in supporting the expansion of industrial tree plantations and the pulp and paper industry in the global South...[Continue]
Despite what Greenpeace might want the public believe about the FSC being well on the way to bcoming a credible certification scheme again, people living with the effects of some of FSC's certified operations know better. In Ireland, as FSC-Watch has been reporting
for the last two years, the state forestry company Coillte has remained FSC certified for the last seven years, despite the numerous failures being known by both its certifier and the FSC itself...[Continue]
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]