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.
Last month, FSC-Watch reported on the ‘race to the bottom’ of FSC standards for certification of the Presov Forest District in Slovakia.
The race has now been run, and the certificate – which was withdrawn only a few weeks ago by Soil Association WoodMark – has now been ‘re-awarded’ by SGS. One representative of the Slovak environmental movement has said that they are ‘sickened’ by this development, and have dismissed the certificate as “nothing but greenwashing”. Forests managed by the Presov Forest District are, they say, amongst the worst managed state forests in Slovakia, and the certificate will help no-one but the businesses involved in the FSC.
The certification by the Soil Association in 2001 of Presov Forest District (PFD, part of the state forestry service) in Slovakia, has always been controversial.
Local environmental groups, such as WOLF/Friends of the Earth Slovakia have long argued that PFD was in gross non-compliance with the FSC’s Principles and Criteria. They provided detailed, Principle-by-Principle critiques of PFD’s operations, both before and after the certificate was issued, detailing multiple failures to comply with the P&C. These were evidently ignored by the Soil Association, who issued the certificate, and maintained it until 2006.