Author: Chris Lang

I run - a website that analyses and critiques REDD and other carbon trading schemes. I've been an environmental activist and writer since the early 1990s. I have an MSc in Forestry and Land Use from Oxford University and have worked with several environmental and social rights NGOs.

Please sign the petition for a strong FSC ban on GE trees

Over the past weeks FSC has held a consultation on changing its policy on genetically engineered trees. For years FSC’s policy on genetically engineered trees has been confusing and weak. FSC is now trying to dismantle its already weak position by allowing field testing of GE trees.

The Global Justice Ecology Project has set up a petition opposing the proposed changes. You can sign on to the petition here: (the deadline is 14 December 2021).

Please sign the petition and share it widely!

Here is the text of the petition:

FSC: Protect forests from Genetically Engineered trees (open to groups & individuals)December 14, 2021

Kim Carstensen, Director General
Forest Stewardship Council

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): Protect our forests from Genetically Engineered tree threats

We, the undersigned, demand FSC reject GE trees.

Dear Mr. Carstensen,

We oppose Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) proposals to endorse field tests of genetically engineered (GE), also called genetically modified (GM) trees. The FSC must disassociate itself from any GE tree research activities and continue to clearly prohibit the commercial growing of GE trees.

The importance of FSC’s current prohibition on genetically engineered trees in FSC products is particularly critical given the recent Brazilian approval for commercial growing of a glyphosate-resistant GE eucalyptus tree, developed by the FSC-certified company Suzano. This new decision also shows the need to stop GE tree research by FSC members from moving ahead.

Genetically engineered trees threaten the future of our forests. They pose a wide range of possible environmental and social impacts that could increase over time as contamination spreads. FSC needs to continue to play a key role in preventing those impacts.

Genetically engineered trees are a threat to our collective future and have no place in FSC activities and FSC-certified products. The FSC needs to act to protect our forest ecosystems from GE trees rather than open the door to this dangerous experiment.


Channel 4 exposes FSC’s lobbying for weakening EU forest biomass rules

Demand for biomass, for example for the massive Drax power station in the UK, is driving forest destruction. Drax used to burn coal. Now it burns wood pellets. This week Channel 4 looked at the link between clearcutting in Estonia and increasing demand for biomass.


Flatpacked Forests FAQ: Earthsight responds to FSC

Earlier this month FSC-Watch wrote about a new report from Earthsight about illegal logging in Ukraine. Earthsights’ 18-month-long investigation revealed that IKEA is selling chairs made from beech wood that was illegally logged in the Ukrainian Carpathians. And the timber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.


When is recycled toilet paper not recycled? When it carries an FSC Recycled label

Hoarding of toilet paper started in early February 2020 in Hong Kong after consumers panicked themselves into believing that the coronavirus outbreak in China would disrupt supplies. Within days, toilet paper shelves were empty in the supermarkets. Social media helped fuel the hoarding, which quickly spread across the world from Sydney to London to Washington DC.


FSC rejects complaint against Roseburg Forest Products. Carstensen says rights issues raised are “outside forestry operations”

On 27 February 2019, the organisation Water for Citizens of Weed, California (WCWC) filed a complaint with the Forest Stewardship Council against timber company Roseburg Forest Products.

WCWC argued that FSC should dissociate from Roseburg because the company was attempting to profit from the town’s water supply, by selling it to a bottled water company called Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring.


Forestry Company Faces Challenge to Its “Responsible Timber” Certification After Waging Intimidation Campaign Against Local Community

By Water for Citizens of Weed, CA 27 February 2019

WEED, CALIFORNIA – Citizens of Weed, California filed a complaint today with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) after Oregon-based Roseburg Forest Products refused to stop its abusive tactics in a bid to privatize the community’s main source of drinking water.


How can products from an Asia Pulp and Paper company have carried an FSC label for the past seven years, when FSC disassociated from APP in 2007?

“FSC controlled wood is material from acceptable sources that can be mixed with FSC-certified material in products that carry the FSC Mix label.”

That’s how FSC describes “Controlled wood” on its website. The reality is that FSC is no guarantee of legality.

In fact, “controlled wood” doesn’t even exclude products from companies that FSC has disassociated itself from.


In denial: FSC’s response to the ARTE documentary

Two weeks ago, ARTE broadcast a documentary that was extremely critical of FSC. FSC responded with a statement on its website, and an 8-page “Fact check”. FSC’s response illustrates that the organisation is in denial about the problems within the FSC system.