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When is recycled toilet paper not recycled? When it carries an FSC Recycled label

Hoarding of toilet paper started in early February 2020 in Hong Kong after consumers panicked themselves into believing that the coronavirus outbreak in China would disrupt supplies. Within days, toilet paper shelves were empty in the supermarkets. Social media helped fuel the hoarding, which quickly spread across the world from Sydney to London to Washington DC.

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FSC rejects complaint against Roseburg Forest Products. Carstensen says rights issues raised are “outside forestry operations”

On 27 February 2019, the organisation Water for Citizens of Weed, California (WCWC) filed a complaint with the Forest Stewardship Council against timber company Roseburg Forest Products.

WCWC argued that FSC should dissociate from Roseburg because the company was attempting to profit from the town’s water supply, by selling it to a bottled water company called Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring.

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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.

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Greenpeace International leaves FSC, “due to failures to protect forests”

Greenpeace International has (at long last) decided to leave the Forest Stewardship Council. In an statement, Greenpeace International announces the decision:

Greenpeace International was a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), but now has decided not to renew its FSC membership due to inconsistent implementation and failures to protect forests.

This is a massive blow to FSC’s credibility.

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So, does FSC really work?

Based on a review of 40 studies, we found that certified tropical forests are overall better for the environment than forests managed conventionally.

That’s the opening sentence of a recent article on Mongabay, titled, “Does forest certification really work?

But the conclusion is based far more on wishful thinking than on any scientific evidence. The opening line of the article was amended within a week of being posted to include the words “of variable quality”.

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Jari certificate suspension: why was it ever certified in the first place?

On December 8th, FSC Brazil announced that the certificate of the country’s largest certified forestry operation, Jari, had been suspended following raids on companies suspected of massive fraud and laundering of illegal timber. Such certificate suspensions or terminations usually provoke claims from FSC’s supporters and apologists that “this shows that the system is working” – because unworthy companies are losing their endorsement. More often, however, it merely raises questions as to how the company was ever certified in the first place, and how it maintained its certificate for often many years despite there being clear problems. Jari is  certainly one of these cases. Inevitably, it also raises serious questions about the ability of the FSC to properly control the work of the certification companies  – and whether wood-users were misled about the acceptability of the company’s certified products in the mean time. (more…)

Chain of Custody – failures could “cause FSC to break down altogether”

Last month, we reported on how FSC’s former  Executive Director, Andre de Freitas, had raised serious doubts about the FSC’s Chain of Custody (CoC) certification mechanism, describing it as a “myth”. Now a new and, for the FSC, more worrying voice has been added to those expressing concern about the integrity of CoC certificates; that of NEPCon, one of FSC’s accredited certifiers.

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Greenpeace loses the plot: Motion 65 shambles, and an ugly failure to protect ‘intact forests’

Motion 65 to the FSC’s General Assembly, its highest decision-making authority, was tabled by Judy Rodrigues of Greenpeace International. The motion was intended to set out new requirements for the FSC when certifying logging companies in what Greenpeace describes as ‘intact forest landscapes’ (or IFLs). These are important large areas of forest which remain undamaged, and are rapidly declining and being fragmented – often by commercial logging – the world over. Greenpeace rightly wishes to see these forests better protected – but has failed to prevent the FSC from legitimising their destruction.

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