FSC-Watch

An independent observer of the Forest Stewartship Council

Veracel: "Sustainable on Paper" thanks to FSCTags: Brazil, Complaints procedures, Plantations, SGS Qualifor, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

On 13 March 2008, SGS Qualifor awarded an FSC certificate for Veracel's monoculture eucalyptus plantations in Bahia, Brazil. WRM announced that this was FSC's "Death Certificate".

In 2010, two Belgian journalists, Leopold Broers and An-Katrien Lecluyse, spent three months investigating the impact of Veracel's monoculture eucalyptus plantations on local communities. They made a documentary, titled, "Sustainable on Paper", based on interviews carried out in Bahia and Belgium:

Broers and Lecluyse listened not only to the company's point of view, but spent time finding out what local communities think about the project...[Continue]

FSC's new plan to launder wood from deforestationTags: Worldwide, Controlled wood, Plantations

It's official: the FSC is now setting out to use its grotesque Controlled (sic) Wood Policy in order to 'launder' wood from areas experiencing recent deforestation into the FSC certified wood supply chain.

Under the FSC's current rules, areas of natural forest that have been cut down and converted into industrial tree plantations later than 1994 cannot be FSC certified. This important 'safeguard' has been a source of annoyance to the plantation industry (which has been strongly represented on the Board of FSC), as well as large scale pulp and paper companies, which would like to see the restriction removed - in such a way that, in effect, wood from almost any plantation anywhere in the world could be FSC certified, regardless of whether it had been the cause of large-scale or recent deforestation...[Continue]

FSC Complaints Panel says organisation 'needs to control certifiers better': SmartWood "undermines" the FSCTags: Democratic Republic of Congo, Controlled wood, Complaints procedures, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

The outcome of Greenpeace's complaint against Congolese logging company SODEFOR, announced by the FSC on March 23rd, will probably not please the complainants very much, but it once again has served to highlight some of the glaring weaknesses in the FSC system.

As we have previously reported, the complaint against SODEFOR's certificate dates back to April 2011, but by the time Greenpeace had lodged their appeal, the certificate had already been withdrawn by the certifier, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood...[Continue]

Another FSC and WWF flagship company in Africa bites the dust as Danzer sells SIFORCOTags: Democratic Republic of Congo

Things only get worse for the FSC in Africa. Following the cancellation of the biggest certificate in Cameroon (SFEAC), the partial cancellation of the biggest certificate in Republic of Congo and sale of its holder (CIB) to a palm oil trader, now comes news that the high profile and largest certificate in the Democratic Republic of Congo has also been struck from FSC's register of certified operations.

As the Greenpeace press release below reports, the Swiss-owned Danzer Group has sold its subsidiary SIFORCO, one of Africa's largest logging companies, to the US-based Groupe Blattner Elwyn...[Continue]

The scandal of Asia Plywood Company in Sarawak, Wickes, B&Q, SCS and FSCTags: Malaysia, Chain of Custody, Mixed sources labelling, Misleading claims, SCS

B&Q and Wickes, two of Britain's biggest DIY stores, have been caught selling plywood falsely labelled as FSC certified.

The company selling the plywood, Asia Plywood Company, is the largest exporter of Meranti wood and plywood in Malaysia. The website Sarawak Report explains that Asia Plywood Company got its FSC certificate not for the timber it logs in Sarawak, but "by pledging that at least 70% of the content of its finished plywood was now being sourced from New Zealand plantation pine."

In fact, the plywood on sale in the UK was "almost completely made up of tropical hardwood, such as meranti wood," Sarawak Report notes...[Continue]

FSC Sweden: "I wish we had more backbone"Tags: Sweden, Certifier conflict of interest, SGS Qualifor

The myth of sustainable FSC certified logging in Sweden is explored in a new article, Sweden's Green Veneer Hides Unsustainable Logging Practices on Yale 360, by journalist and photographer, Erik Hoffner.

The article describes the growing consensus that the "Swedish model" of forestry is failing to protect biodiversity, and old growth forests continue to be clear-cut, including those with FSC certification. With 10 million hectares certified, or 45% of its total forest, Sweden has one of the largest areas of FSC certified logging...[Continue]

SIFORCO in DR Congo: the continuing bloodstain on the FSC and its 'Controlled Wood' policyTags: Democratic Republic of Congo, Controlled wood, Greenpeace, Complaints procedures, Policy of Association, SGS Qualifor

In June of this year, we reported on the shocking atrocities against local communities happening in two FSC 'Controlled Wood' certified logging operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of the two companies concerned, SODEFOR, had, by the time we reported, already had its certificate 'suspended', and was the subject of a formal complaint submitted by Greenpeace. The other, SIFORCO, remains certified (by SGS) to this day, but has also recently had a complaint filed against it by Greenpeace...[Continue]

IKEA supplier Swedwood in Karelia: TV documentary exposes impacts of FSC certified clear-cuts in HCV forestsTags: Russia, High Conservation Value Forests, Rainforest Alliance SmartWood

Another news documentary causing embarrassment to the FSC appears in its home country, exposing the questionable practices of certified companies. ARD's Plus-minus programme travelled to Russian Karelia to inspect the forestry practices of IKEA subsidiary and timber supplier, Swedwood. What it found there was not pretty. As the documentary points out, Swedwood's large clear-cuts in 'old growth' forest appear to breach FSC's requirements concerning the treatment of High Conservation Value forest. The use of heavy machinery on vulnerable soils could have a lasting impact...[Continue]

New video exposes FSC failure to uphold the Principles and Criteria: 'Is FSC the right choice?'Tags: Worldwide, South Africa, Plantations

Geasphere the NGO working in South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland dedicated to the protection of ecological integrity, has released a new short video explaining why FSC's certification of plantations in South Africa are in clear contravention of the FSC's Principles and Criteria, and how the P&C themselves are defective in ensuring that FSC certifed timber is "environmentally appropriate".

Taking us on a tour of some of the South African landscapes devastated by industrial plantations, the video explains how FSC's Principle 10 is inadequate to ensure that certified plantations are not responsible for destruction of non-forest ecosystem, such as grasslands, even if these are more biodiverse than local forests...[Continue]

New Forests Company plantation in Uganda - FSC files a complaint against itselfTags: Uganda, Plantations, Accreditation controls, ASI, SGS Qualifor

The FSC sank to new levels of farce this week with a decision that in effect means that the organisation has lodged a complaint against itself.

As we reported a week ago an investigation by Oxfam has revealed that the FSC-certified New Forests Company in Uganda has been responsible for eviction of 22,500 people from their land. In addition to the video news piece about Oxfam's report produced by the Guardian, Al Jazeera TV also reported on the evictions, including interviews with Kate Geary of Oxfam and Robert Devereux, the Chairman of New Forests Company...[Continue]

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