WWF has finalised its forced retreat from supporting one of South America’s most notorious logging companies, and now says it believes that the Guyana-based Barama would not be able to regain the FSC certificate that was ‘suspended’ in 2007.
As previously reported on FSC-Watch, the certification of the Spanish industrial plantation company, NORFOR, has caused widespread concern, which a recent FSC inspection of the company’s certifier, SGS, has only served to heighten. Despite finding clear non-compliances with FSC’s Principles and Criteria, the certificate remains in place.
At the start of this year, FSC-Watch reported on the ‘suspension’ of the FSC certificate of Malaysian-owned Guyanese logging company, Barama. A statement issued today by the President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, who accuses Barama of “fraud”, will come as a further embarrassment to supporters of the certificate.
Back in January, FSC-Watch reported that the largest FSC certified tropical logging operation (Barama, in Guyana) had had its certificate suspended. One of the interesting aspects of this was that WWF had been working closely with the company for some time, providing technical advice and helping the company to get its certificate. This was clearly an embarrassment for WWF, who had only 9 months earlier breathlessly exclaimed that the certificate was a “record-setting accomplishment for tropical forest conservation in South America“. In February, WWF US’s senior forest programme officer Bruce Cabarle joined representatives of Barama in an urgent meeting with FSC’s Executive Director in an effort to have the certificate reinstated (which the FSC Secretariat rightly resisted).
A couple of weeks ago, FSC-Watch received this email from Wally Menne of TimberWatch in South Africa. It raises an interesting point – the FSC International Secretariat produces almost exclusively good news, no matter what is happening in the outside world. So far, Wally has not received either a reply or an acknowledgment of his email. We will, of course, be happy to post FSC’s response when it appears.
It was announced today that FSC’s largest certificate for tropical forest management, had been suspended. The certificate, issued by SGS-Qualifor to the Barama company, the Guyanese subsidiary of the controversial Malaysian-based logging transnational, Samling, was put on hold following an investigation by the FSC’s Accreditation Service International (ASI) in November 2006.
A new report from researcher Janette Bulkan has cast an interesting light on the Guyanese logging industry, including FSC-certified company Barama.
The report seems to confirm what many Guyanese have long known: that the logging industry is not much good for anybody other than the logging companies themselves. According to the new research, as reported in the Starkbroek News, even the FSC-certified Barama brings little or no value to this desperately poor country. Bulkan has found that, whilst Barama’s operations occupy more than a quarter of the country’s entire production forest, it only, for example, employs 300 Guyanese, or 2% of the forestry workforce. The company does not even pay any export taxes.