The following has been submitted by the Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders.
Despite what Greenpeace might want the public believe about the FSC being well on the way to becoming a credible certification scheme again, people living with the effects of some of FSC’s certified operations know better. In Ireland, as FSC-Watch has been reporting
for the last two years, the state forestry company Coillte has remained FSC certified for the last seven years, despite the numerous failures being known by both its certifier and the FSC itself. The latest report of Coillte’s negligent practices shown below have been published in the Irish Examiner newspaper.
This month’s World Rainforest Movement Bulletin focusses on the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations on 21 September. The Bulletin explains why a campaign against industrial tree plantations is important, includes materials for campaigns as well as news and analysis from around the world about struggles against plantations.
It is customary in many organisations to give out-going staff a photo-album showing the person’s accomplishments, for them to cherish in future years. We can’t do that for Heiko Liedeker, who is finally departing as FSC Executive Director, but what we would like to do with this posting is to show some of what has gone so badly wrong in the past – and what we expect the new Executive Director to put right.
In the past, FSC-Watch has been welcoming towards the work of Accreditation Services International (ASI), the FSC body which is supposed to ensure that the FSC’s Principles and Criteria are upheld by the accredited certifiers. There is no doubt that monitoring of the certifiers has improved in recent years. But, for every audit of the certifiers carried out by ASI, there has been a failure to take meaningful action – even in cases where certifiers have been found by ASI to have issued certificates to blatantly non-compliant forest managers.
In December 2006, FSC-Watch reported on how the FSC had bowed to pressure from the plantation industry to ‘freeze’ implementation of its pesticides policy, which prohibits the use of a chemicals included on FSC’s ‘banned’ list. Under a decision taken by the International Board, FSC decided to extend until the end of June 2007 the deadline by which forestry companies had to apply for special ‘derogation’ permission to continue using banned chemicals. But FSC-Watch can now reveal that FSC has conspired to allow use of banned chemicals even where no derogation has been granted – and has now removed one of the major ‘safeguards’ that ensured that pesticide derogations were supported by local stakeholders.
FSC-Watch has reported many times on the FSC credibility disaster that has been allowed to persist in Ireland for nearly a decade. Tellingly, despite the glaring failures, neither the FSC Secretariat, ASI, the international Board nor the national initiative itself have had to competence to put ‘FSC Ireland’ onto a credible path. Unsurprisingly, local NGOs are now totally exasperated. Even some parts of the private sector that entered the FSC process in good faith are now de-camping to PEFC instead.
FSC-Watch has reported numerous times on the shambles that is the FSC’s Irish Forest Certification Initiative (IFCI), and the associated certificate issued to the state forestry company, Coillte. After more than six years of discussion, consuming copious amounts of funding and stakeholders’ effort, IFCI has still failed to come up with a credible national standard.