ARTE, the European TV channel, broadcast a new documentary about FSC this week. It’s available on the ARTE website in German: “Die Ausbeutung der Urwälder: Kann ein Öko-Siegel die Forstindustrie stoppen?” – The exploitation of primary forests: Can an ecolabel stop the forest industry?
The Forest Stewardship Council standard for Sweden “allows forests to be converted into tree plantations, through the use of clear-cut logging, soil scarification (ridging) and chemical fertilisation”, writes Amanda Tas of Protect the Forest in a recent piece on the Plantation Definition Discussion website.
Two-thirds of the last old-growth forests in Europe are in Romania. Unfortunately, Romania’s forests are under threat from rampant illegal logging. And by failing to kick out companies involved in this illegal logging, the Forest Stewardship Council is complicit in this destruction.
Green Resources’ industrial tree plantations in Uganda continue to cause problems for local communities. Whenever journalists or academics document the problems, the company points out that its plantations are FSC-certified.
A company called Eucalyptus Fibre Congo S.A. is alleged to have paid at least US$76,500 in “black money” to Congolese public officials in 2012. At the time, the company held an FSC chain of custody certificate.
Three weeks ago, Arnaud Labrousse sent an email to Kim Carstensen, FSC’s Director General. Labrousse has a few questions for FSC. Unfortunately, FSC seems reluctant to answer them.
On 9 April 2015, Brazil’s Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) approved the commercial use of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. The application came from FuturaGene, a company owned by pulp and paper giant Suzano.
Suzano’s plantations are FSC-certified. Estevão do Prado Braga, who works for Suzano, is a member of FSC’s Board.
Yet FSC’s Policy of Association does not allow FSC to associate with companies that introduce genetically modified organisms into forestry operations.
In February 2015, the Forest Stewardship Council announced that it was kicking out Danish timber giant Dalhoff Larsen and Horneman (DLH). FSC did so after investigations by Global Witness revealed that DLH had traded illegal timber from Liberia.
But how did a company trading illegal timber get FSC certification in the first place?
FSC has a policy of association under which, “Introduction of genetically modified organisms in forestry operations” is not acceptable.
In 2010, Suzano bought biotechnology company FuturaGene. In January 2014, FuturaGene applied to Brazil’s National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) for approval to plant GE trees on a commercial scale.
In June 2014, FSC-Watch reported that Brazilian company Suzano was planning to use genetically engineered trees in its plantations, and asked whether FSC would therefore dissociate from Suzano, in accordance with its policy of association.
The Campaign to STOP GE Trees recently wrote to FSC, calling on FSC to dissociate from Suzano.