Greenpeace International leaves FSC, “due to failures to protect forests”

Greenpeace International has (at long last) decided to leave the Forest Stewardship Council. In an statement, Greenpeace International announces the decision:

Greenpeace International was a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), but now has decided not to renew its FSC membership due to inconsistent implementation and failures to protect forests.

This is a massive blow to FSC’s credibility.

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Timber Trade Federation: “FSC alone is no guarantee of having complied with legal process”

Last week at Manchester Magistrates Court a timber company called Hardwood Dimensions (Holdings) Ltd was found to be in breach of regulations prohibiting the import and sale of illegally harvested timber.

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So, does FSC really work?

Based on a review of 40 studies, we found that certified tropical forests are overall better for the environment than forests managed conventionally.

That’s the opening sentence of a recent article on Mongabay, titled, “Does forest certification really work?

But the conclusion is based far more on wishful thinking than on any scientific evidence. The opening line of the article was amended within a week of being posted to include the words “of variable quality”.

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FSC-certified company Holmen threatens Swedish high conservation value forests – in violation of FSC standards

The Forest Stewardship Council standard for Sweden “allows forests to be converted into tree plantations, through the use of clear-cut logging, soil scarification (ridging) and chemical fertilisation”, writes Amanda Tas of Protect the Forest in a recent piece on the Plantation Definition Discussion website.

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FSC fails to kick out Schweighofer despite “clear and convincing evidence” of illegalities in Romania

Two-thirds of the last old-growth forests in Europe are in Romania. Unfortunately, Romania’s forests are under threat from rampant illegal logging. And by failing to kick out companies involved in this illegal logging, the Forest Stewardship Council is complicit in this destruction.

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Jari certificate suspension: why was it ever certified in the first place?

On December 8th, FSC Brazil announced that the certificate of the country’s largest certified forestry operation, Jari, had been suspended following raids on companies suspected of massive fraud and laundering of illegal timber. Such certificate suspensions or terminations usually provoke claims from FSC’s supporters and apologists that “this shows that the system is working” – because unworthy companies are losing their endorsement. More often, however, it merely raises questions as to how the company was ever certified in the first place, and how it maintained its certificate for often many years despite there being clear problems. Jari is  certainly one of these cases. Inevitably, it also raises serious questions about the ability of the FSC to properly control the work of the certification companies  – and whether wood-users were misled about the acceptability of the company’s certified products in the mean time. (more…)