Launching an appeal to help save Sweden’s remaining old-growth forests, the NGO networkSkydda Skogen (Protect the Forest) has said that “major violations against the FSC standard are made by FSC-certified forest companies in Sweden.” In its website, Skydda Skogen goes on to say:
“Many of the Swedish forest companies are certified by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) but researches made by Swedish NGOs show that major violations against the FSC standard are made by the companies. For example both the big forest companies HOLMEN SKOG and state owned SVEASKOG are clear-cutting ancient old-growth forests and other forests with high value for the biodiversity. The forest companies that are certified by FSC in Sweden are to save at least 5 percent of their total productive forest areas for nature conservation, but, according to recent research 1/4 – 1/3 of these set aside areas don’t have high nature values. Instead, the forest companies are saving low productive forests with almost no biodiversity, this at the same time as they are clear-felling forests which are hundreds of years old with great importance for the biodiversity.”
This will come as a major embarrassment to the FSC. Swedish companies have been in the lead in adopting and promoting the FSC, with the strong support of WWF Sweden. Only Canada has a larger area of forest certified under FSC, and about 15% of FSC’s total certified area is found in Sweden. Sveaskog – specifically criticised by Skydda Skogen – is the FSC’s second largest of all certificates, at nearly 3.5 million hectares.
The certifier which issued Sveaskog’s certificate, SGS Qualifor, has recently come in for severe criticism from the FSC Secretariat for a certificate in Guyana, and currently has a number of Major Corrective Action Requests outstanding against it.