For the recent documentary “Who is Protecting our Forests?”, ARTE’s journalists Manfred Ladwig and Thomas Reutter visit Industrie Forestière de Ouesso’s Ngombé logging concession in the Republic of Congo. The concession covers more than one million hectares, all of which is FSC-certified, according to the documentary. IFO is part of Danzer GmbH, a company registered in Switzerland.
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…)
In a recent posting, we reported on the sale of FSC’s flagship certified logging company in Africa, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), to the Singapore-based Olam Group, which describes itself as a “global leader in agricultural products and food ingredients”. Amongst Olam’s activities elsewhere in the world is production and processing of palm oil, so it came as little surprise to some when the company recently indicated, only five months after acquiring CIB’s massive forest assets in northern Congo, that it was interesting in ‘diversifying’ CIB’s production to include various crops such as palm oil, cacao and soya.
Nothing encapsulates the dismal weaknesses of the FSC system quite as well as the case of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) – which for many years has been FSC’s flagship certified logging operation in Africa.
On the eve of its 2011 General Assembly, FSC is facing a barrage of criticism as a result of failing to deal with the multiple problems that it has been presented with over the last decade. The growing sense amongst members, and especially NGOs, is that time has run out. Another of FSC’s key NGO supporters has already recently quit.
A new research paper (see abstract below) on the behavioural patterns of forest elephants has dealt a major blow to the myth of ‘sustainable logging’ in the rainforests of the Congo Basin. One of the areas specifically referred to in the paper as being negatively impacted is covered by the concessions of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) that is currently being ‘pre-assessed’ for FSC certification by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood.
In September 2006, WWF and the large German tropical logging company Danzer issued the joint press release below, announcing Danzer’s intention to obtain FSC certification. The announcement stated that Danzer’s operations in the Republic of Congo were ‘scheduled’ to be certified in 2008, whilst the larger concessions in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would be certified in 2010.
Along with WWF, Greenpeace recently joined a ‘love-in’ with African rainforest logger, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), to celebrate the arrival into Switzerland of the first shipment of CIB’s FSC-certified timber.