Karelian certificate challenged over damage to old growth forest

The following information has been supplied by the Russian NGO, SPOK.

This is yet another example of an FSC certificate issued by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood having to be challenged by NGOs. The logging company in question, Zapkarelles, has a concession of over 800,000 hectares of old growth forest in Karelia.

Regional NGO SPOK, Karelia, requests cancellation of FSC certificate for company ‘Zapkarelles’

At the beginning of June, Karelian environmental NGO SPOK wrote an official letter to the Russian national office of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) requesting investigation of the forestry practises of forestry company ‘Zapkarelles’. SPOK considers that the activities of ‘Zapkarelles’ do not conform to the principles and criteria of FSC to protect areas of high-conservation value forest (HCVF).

SPOK considers that the leaseholder is ignoring information on HCVF, which has been collected and made public by the NGO several years ago. Large-scale logging operations in HCVFs are planned by the company. The NGO requests that the company does not proceed with logging in the Porosozerkii and Salmiyarvski Forests (Suyoyarvskiy Central Forest District). The company ‘Zapkarelles’ and the Danish parent company FLEXA Group A/S (represented in Petrozavodsk by ‘Fleksa Wood’), did not provide answers to the NGO’s questions concerning HCVF.

The current situation cannot be considered normal practice for a modern company certified as sustainable under the FSC scheme. This complaint follows another recent Karelian example of cancellation of FSC certificates for the ‘Segezhskiy’ Pulp Mill, on grounds of not meeting the FSC criteria.

More information on the cancellation of an FSC certificate for forest land leased by Segezhskiy Pulp Mill, following a monitoring visit in May, conducted by ASI (Accredited Services International) on Polish auditors SGS (in Russian) here.

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