The amazing, disappearing, FSC certificates…

Earlier this year, we reported on the ‘anomalous’ circumstances surrounding the certification of Wijma, a company logging in the rainforests of Cameroon. Wijma’s certifier, Bureau Veritas was ‘suspended’ because of Wijma’s certificate, though the certificate itself was allowed to remain in place. Now we learn that, in a complete reversal, Burea Veritas has been ‘re-accredited’ to FSC, but Wijma has mysteriously disappeared off the list of currently certified companies.

For the diligent, Bureau Veritas’s public summary report of their last surveillance mission of Wijma reveals that the suspension was due to the company’s non-compliance with no fewer than five Major Corrective Action requests. However, as with all previous certificate ‘suspensions’, no information about this ‘suspension’ is to be found on the FSC’s website, in its newsletter, or in any other public document. As FSC-Watch has also reported before, the FSC Secretariat’s total secrecy about ‘suspended’ or cancelled certificates is a potential source of confusion and uncertainty. On one or two previous occasions, where FSC has been forced to ‘suspend’ a certificate under particularly controversial circumstances, the Secretariat has issued a ‘statement’, but these have generally not been widely circulated, not even to FSC’s members. Along with Wijma’s forest management certificates, numerous Chain of Custody certificates have probably also had to be ‘suspended’, as these would have depended on Wijma’s FSC-certified timber. These will be added to the existing list of more than 2,000 ‘suspended’ CoC and forest management certificates – and once again, people genuinely wishing to specify FSC-certified timber are left in the dark about exactly what is, and what is not, FSC certified.

FSC-Watch believes that the full FSC ‘database’ of cancelled or ‘suspended’ certificates should now be placed in the public domain.

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