Green groups call for urgent reform of the FSC – certifiers ‘eroding credibility’

On 30th October, more than 75 environmental organisations from 25 countries wrote a letter to the Executive Director of FSC, Heiko Liedeker, and the FSC’s International Board, calling for urgent improvements to the FSC system. The groups include WWF International, Greenpeace International, Birdlife Internationl, Friends of the Earth UK, the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense.

The groups identify in their letter that “the performance of the [FSC’s accredited] certification bodies has played a critical role in [the] erosion of FSC’s credibility because in too many cases certificates have been issued that raised significant opposition among FSC members”. The groups go on to assert that there has been “too much room” for the certifiers to ‘interpret’ the FSC’s rules; that the FSC Secretariat has been too lax in exercising controls or sanctions over certifiers that break the rules; and that there is an underlying problem because of the direct financial link between the supposedly independent certifers and the companies they are certifying.

The evidence presented on FSC-watch.org suggests that all of these concerns are very well founded.

The letter suggests a number of ways in which the FSC can be made more credible again, including that the accreditation and monitoring procedures for the certifiers should be made more transparent, and that proper sanctions should be instituted where breaches of the rules are found. The groups also ask FSC to find an alternative business model which would break the direct financial link between certifiers and their clients. A further problem addressed is that the FSC continues (after 13 years of existence) to be heavily reliant on external financial support.

FSC-Watch understands that a copy of the letter is not available for public use.

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