Gone! FSC’s 1994 cut-off date for destroying forests for monoculture plantations

By Chris Lang

At it’s General Assembly in Bali last week, FSC’s members voted to allow companies to be certified that have cleared forest to make way for industrial tree plantations between 1994 and 2000. In order to be certified, the company has to restore an area of forest equal to the area they destroyed. The cut-off date has now been moved to 2020. Any company converting forest to plantations after 2020 cannot be certified. Until FSC makes another decision to scrap its cut-off date, that is.


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.


FSC dumps Asia Pulp and Paper – but who was to blame?

In December 2007, the FSC announced that it was “dissociating” itself from the giant Sinar Mas-owned Indonesian paper company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) – see statement below. The news was mostly greeted by the environmental movement, though there is some suspicion that the FSC only took this unusual step because the possible certification of APP had been exposed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. WWF in particular has issued stinging reports of the company’s greewashing of its destruction of forests to feed its pulp mill in Riau province, Sumatra. (For WWF, this was yet another ‘logger love-in’ turned sour, having signed an agreement with APP and its parent company in 2003 to advise on sustainable forest management.)


‘Legality’, SmartWood-style

In his long and thoughtful comment to an earlier FSC-Watch posting on ‘Legality Verification’, Jeff Hayward, Lead Auditor for SmartWood, concluded by saying “we look forward to further inputs. We believe in a transparent consultation process; this is healthy and constructive.” In that spirit, FSC-Watch is hereby providing further, transparent, input.


WWF, Tropical Forest Trust, and Perhutani: more unanswered questions

Some readers of FSC-Watch will no doubt have been surprised to learn that the UK-based NGO Soil Association has, through it’s subsidiary certification body WoodMark, started the process of certifying parts of the notorious Indonesian plantation company Perhutani.