“Forest liars” campaign launched against environmental groups supporting FSC

Recently, Glen Barry of the Ecological Internet, launched an email action against organisations that support FSC. “Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network, NRDC, Forest Ethics, Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Alliance were called upon to immediately end their support for the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) greenwashing of first time logging of primary and old-growth forests”, states Barry in a press release. (Ecological Internet’s Action Alert, “Forest Liars” is available here and a discussion about this Action Alert is here.)

Ecological Internet’s protest email is automatically sent to 315 people (almost one hundred of whom work for WWF). To date, 1,464 people have sent a total of almost half-a-million emails. (Not surprisingly, the first response on Ecological Internet’s discussion page mentions the word “spamming“.)

Among the organisations which received protest emails via Ecological Internet’s website wasFriends of the Earth International. In reply, FoEI pointed out that some national Friends of the Earth’s groups are members of FSC but others are not. Some support FSC, others openly criticise it. Friends of the Earth International is not a member of FSC and does not support FSC: “The FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program finds that voluntary market mechanisms (such as FSC) alone will definitely not solve the global forest crisis and we do not shy away from an open and critical stance towards FSC.”

Here is FoEI’s response in full:

Dear fellow cyberactivist,

Thank you for your email. Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 70 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, we campaign on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues. We challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

The FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program is committed to protecting the world’s remaining forests and the plants, animals and peoples that depend on them. We are opposed to destructive and illegal industrial logging and the conversion of forests. We fight for local communities’ and indigenous peoples’ control of their forests in their traditional sustainable ways.

Friends of the Earth International is not a member of, and does not support the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). National Friends of the Earth (FoE) groups are autonomous in their campaigning and policy decisions. As such their involvement in FSC varies widely. Some FoE groups are members and support FSC as a credible global certification system for responsible forest management, making use of its three chamber structure. This structure gives both social and environmental organisations formal rights and responsibilities and FoE groups focus on certification of smallholders and community forests. Other FoE groups do not support FSC, find that FSC certified forests and plantations are not sustainably managed, and believe that FSC structures and processes (such as the plantation review) are flawed.

The FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program finds that voluntary market mechanisms (such as FSC) alone will definitely not solve the global forest crisis and we do not shy away from an open and critical stance towards FSC. Therefore the main focus of the FoEI Forest and Biodiversity Program lies with developing sustainable community forest management, as well as binding regulations to ban illegal and destructive timber trade and large scale monoculture tree plantations.

We hope this email clarifies that we oppose all the allegations made to our organisation in the cyber action from Ecological Internet. We thank you for letting us know your opinion and we would appreciate that our email addresses not be published on a public web site.

If you are interested in supporting the campaigns of Friends of the Earth International and you want to keep informed of our actions please join the cyberactivist network mailing list (you will typically get 1 or 2 e-mails each month). You can join by sending an email to with the words “sign me up to cyberactions” in the subject.

Sincerely, Friends of the Earth International, Forests and Biodiversity Program


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