Almuth Ernsting is co-director of Biofuelwatch, an NGO that works “to raise awareness of the negative impacts of industrial biofuels and bioenergy on biodiversity, human rights, food sovereignty and climate change”. She contributed this guest post to FSC-Watch.
In one of the political blogs still commenting on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s second raid on Gibson Guitars for possible contraventions of the Lacey Act, Republican pundit Andrew M. Langer, berating Gibson for “consorting with environmentalists”, refers to an old saying that “if you lie down with dogs be prepared to get up with fleas”. He adds that “Apparently if you lie down with environmentalists you should be prepared to get raided by the Feds.”
The raiding of Gibson Guitars in Tennessee in August by US Federal Fish and Wildlife officials for suspected violations of the Lacey Act – which forbids US companies from importing wood obtained from illegal sources – has once again cast a very hard light on the FSC system, and in particular on the Rainforest Alliance, whose SmartWood scheme is the FSC’s most prolific issuer of FSC certificates. An October 2nd article (which we reproduce in full below), published in the ‘Tennessean’ newspaper, has opened new revelations about the relationship between Gibson and the Alliance, which sound loud alarm bells about the ‘independence’ of the certifier.
FSC-Watch has several times in the last eighteen months reported on the FSC-certified ‘chainsaw massacre’ taking place in the state forest lands of Massachusetts, USA. Managed by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), 285,000 acreas of forest had been certified by California-based Scientific Certification Systems Inc (SCS) since 2004.
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.