ARTE, the European TV channel, broadcast a new documentary about FSC this week. It’s available on the ARTE website in German: “Die Ausbeutung der Urwälder: Kann ein Öko-Siegel die Forstindustrie stoppen?” – The exploitation of primary forests: Can an ecolabel stop the forest industry?
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.
In November 2015, WWF Germany filed a formal complaint with FSC against the Austrian-based company Holzindustrie Schweighofer – the largest forest products company in Romania. The complaint followed a series of undercover investigations by the Environmental Investigation Agency and an article in Germany’s Spiegel magazine.
“Based on a review of 40 studies, we found that certified tropical forests are overall better for the environment than forests managed conventionally.”
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”.
Yesterday, at the FSC General Assembly in Vancouver, FSC members voted in favour of a motion to scrap the ban on the certifying plantations that were established on forests cleared after 1994.
The Forest Stewardship Council standard for Sweden “allows forests to be converted into tree plantations, through the use of clear-cut logging, soil scarification (ridging) and chemical fertilisation”, writes Amanda Tas of Protect the Forest in a recent piece on the Plantation Definition Discussion website.
Two-thirds of the last old-growth forests in Europe are in Romania. Unfortunately, Romania’s forests are under threat from rampant illegal logging. And by failing to kick out companies involved in this illegal logging, the Forest Stewardship Council is complicit in this destruction.
Green Resources’ industrial tree plantations in Uganda continue to cause problems for local communities. Whenever journalists or academics document the problems, the company points out that its plantations are FSC-certified.