Author: FSC-Watch

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Greenpeace International leaves FSC, “due to failures to protect forests”

Greenpeace International has (at long last) decided to leave the Forest Stewardship Council. In an statement, Greenpeace International announces the decision:

Greenpeace International was a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), but now has decided not to renew its FSC membership due to inconsistent implementation and failures to protect forests.

This is a massive blow to FSC’s credibility.

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FSC’s Christmas present for Schweighofer

In November 2015, WWF Germany filed a formal complaint with FSC against the Austrian-based company Holzindustrie Schweighofer – the largest forest products company in Romania. The complaint followed a series of undercover investigations by the Environmental Investigation Agency and an article in Germany’s Spiegel magazine.

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So, does FSC really work?

Based on a review of 40 studies, we found that certified tropical forests are overall better for the environment than forests managed conventionally.

That’s the opening sentence of a recent article on Mongabay, titled, “Does forest certification really work?

But the conclusion is based far more on wishful thinking than on any scientific evidence. The opening line of the article was amended within a week of being posted to include the words “of variable quality”.

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Jari certificate suspension: why was it ever certified in the first place?

On December 8th, FSC Brazil announced that the certificate of the country’s largest certified forestry operation, Jari, had been suspended following raids on companies suspected of massive fraud and laundering of illegal timber. Such certificate suspensions or terminations usually provoke claims from FSC’s supporters and apologists that “this shows that the system is working” – because unworthy companies are losing their endorsement. More often, however, it merely raises questions as to how the company was ever certified in the first place, and how it maintained its certificate for often many years despite there being clear problems. Jari is  certainly one of these cases. Inevitably, it also raises serious questions about the ability of the FSC to properly control the work of the certification companies  – and whether wood-users were misled about the acceptability of the company’s certified products in the mean time. (more…)

FSC’s flagship African logger, CIB-Olam, needs World Bank subsidy – to start farming in its concessions

One of Africa’s biggest, longest-standing and most controversial FSC certified logger, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), has appeared regularly on FSC-Watch. Praised by the likes of Scott Poynton of TFT, CIB’s boosters have consistently ignored the growing evidence for what is now becoming grimly apparent; that the company’s timber production is fundamentally unsustainable, and will likely eventually lead to widespread destruction of some of the Congo Basin’s most valuable forests. The evidence grew stronger this month, with news that the World Bank has stepped in to provide funding to increase the company’s agricultural production. (more…)

Another Smartwood FSC certificate embarrassment as Peruvian authorities make record raid on illegal timber ops

On November 24th, according to a report in the Peruvian newspaper La Republica, police raided the docks in the Amazon port of Iquitos, confiscating the equivalent of 60 heavy truck-loads of timber. The wood, worth around $0.5m,  was bound for Mexico and the US – and reportedly 80% of it was owned by the FSC certified company, Inversiones La Oroza SRL. (Posting amended 10/12/15)

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Chain of Custody – failures could “cause FSC to break down altogether”

Last month, we reported on how FSC’s former  Executive Director, Andre de Freitas, had raised serious doubts about the FSC’s Chain of Custody (CoC) certification mechanism, describing it as a “myth”. Now a new and, for the FSC, more worrying voice has been added to those expressing concern about the integrity of CoC certificates; that of NEPCon, one of FSC’s accredited certifiers.

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Greenpeace loses the plot: Motion 65 shambles, and an ugly failure to protect ‘intact forests’

Motion 65 to the FSC’s General Assembly, its highest decision-making authority, was tabled by Judy Rodrigues of Greenpeace International. The motion was intended to set out new requirements for the FSC when certifying logging companies in what Greenpeace describes as ‘intact forest landscapes’ (or IFLs). These are important large areas of forest which remain undamaged, and are rapidly declining and being fragmented – often by commercial logging – the world over. Greenpeace rightly wishes to see these forests better protected – but has failed to prevent the FSC from legitimising their destruction.

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