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.
SmartWood’s Richard Donovan sent this response to my email dated 11 January 2006. This is not the audit report, as Donovan promised by 22 January 2006 in his response to my email. “Review of our final audit report draft is still underway in Laos,” Donovan says in yesterday’s statement (below). I’ll wait for the final audit to be published before commenting further.
Subject: FSC in Laos
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 09:52:45 +0100
From: Chris Lang
To: Richard Donovan (Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood)
CC: smartwood@….id, FSC-Watch, Ricardo Carrere (WRM)
In June 2006, I received a leaked report written by a consultant to a World Bank- Finnish government-funded “village forestry” project in Laos. About 50,000 hectares of the project area had been certified by SmartWood in January 2006. The report documented serious breaches of FSC principles and criteria, particularly the fact that the consultant found that logs were not marked properly. “Tracing and chain of custody of trees/logs is therefore impossible,” commented the consultant.
By Chris Lang. Published in WRM Bulletin 110, September 2006.
When a forestry operation is certified under the Forest Stewardship Council system, it should mean we can all relax in the knowledge that the forests are reasonably well managed. Unfortunately, it seems, this is not the case. SmartWood, an FSC accredited certifier, recentlyforestry operations forestry operations in Laos which are producing timber that is illegal under the Lao Forestry Law.