Galician environmental group the Association for the Ecological Defence of Galicia (ADEGA) has announced the withdrawal of its support to FSC, at least until the the certificate ofNORFOR, ENCE’s eucalyptus plantation operation, is cancelled.
ADEGA was the only major Galician NGO that continued supporting FSC after the Galician environmental movement as a whole withdraw its support to the certificate in 2006. One of the former supporters of FSC in Galicia, Association in Defense of the Ria of Pontevedra, is nowactively petitioning other Galician and Spanish NGOs to withdraw their support for FSC.
ADEGA’s withdrawal comes as another warning of the critical damage that is being done to FSC through its failure to control certifiers such as SGS, which continue to certify non-compliant companies with impunity.
20 May 2008 ADEGA withdraws its support to FSC due to bad practices of NORFOR
This decision was motivated by the continuance of the FSC certificate to NORFOR. FSC certification will not have ADEGA’s support, at least until FSC changes its position about the certificate obtained by NORFOR (Norte Forestal SA), the forestry branch of ENCE. This certificate, that in theory ensures sustainable management of forests, serves actually to cover the bad forestry practices of ENCE’s subsidiary.
These bad practices forced numerous Galician environmental groups to demand the cancellation of this FSC certificate. Internal bureaucracy problems within FSC mean that, in practice, NORFOR continues having a certificate today that covers the predatory forest policy practiced by this company.
NORFOR’s FSC certificate was obtained after a suspiciously brief process of 6 months, and relates to several hundred concessions scattered throughout the country. Meanwhile, environmental groups such as ADEGA and the APDR denounced the indiscriminate use of herbicides such as glyphosate, practices of excessive damage to subsoil and consequent increase in erosion, clear-cuttings of more than 20 hectares, and the complete lack of promotion of the use of native species in their plantations.
Several Galician environmental groups, including ADEGA, denounced repeatedly the bad practices of NORFOR and asked for the cancellation of the FSC certificate. After more than two years during which several audits by SGS were undertaken, not only no advances have taken place but several claims were raised against the certifier SGS for not fulfilling the necessary guarantees to carry out its work and listen the complainants.
Due to the above problems, ADEGA decided to withdraw its support to FSC. ADEGA does not support the Pan-European Forest Certification either since it does not include the minimum requisite to guarantee a sustainable forest management. At the moment, ADEGA contemplates the possibility of promoting a Galician forest certification that guarantees certain environmental requirements and allows producers and consumers to recognize which timber products have been produced through respectful environmental procedures.
ADEGA’s original press release (in Galician) is available here.