On 13 March 2008, SGS Qualifor awarded an FSC certificate for Veracel’s monoculture eucalyptus plantations in Bahia, Brazil. WRM announced that this was FSC’s “Death Certificate”.
The outcome of Greenpeace’s complaint against Congolese logging company SODEFOR, announced by the FSC on March 23rd, will probably not please the complainants very much, but it once again has served to highlight some of the glaring weaknesses in the FSC system.
The following press release has been issed by South Africa-based NGO, Geasphere.
The decision by the FSC Complaints Panel not to uphold the complaint against the mass slaughter of wildlife in certified plantations in South Africa appears to mean that the FSC’s complaint procedure, though recently revised, maintains its 100% record of never having resulted in the cancellation of a certificate as a result of a formal complaint.
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and Greenpeace Nordic recently filed a formal complaint with FSC about the logging operations of SCA in northern Sweden. SSNC and Greenpeace Nordic’s press release is posted below. The organisations are demanding that SCA’s certificate be withdrawn.
FSC-Watch has reported several times on the on-going problems with the FSC certification of the Irish state forestry company, Coillte. The conflict over this particular certificate is but one of many such conflicts worldwide, but in some ways it exemplifies the worst of the FSC. Amongst Irish stakeholders, the FSC is becoming a bye-word for incompetence, foot-dragging and obstruction. FSC’s activities in Ireland have now sparked a formal complaint though, as FSC-Watch has reported, given the state of FSC’s complaints’ procedures, it is difficult to see how or if this could bring a satisfactory resolution to a problem that has now been festering for nearly 8 years.
One of the essential components of a credible certification scheme is that there must be some kind of mechanism such that stakeholders who dispute decisions about certification standards, specific certificates or other matters, can challenge them and seek redress. FSC’s handling of complaints has been abysmal for many years, but now it seems to be in total disarray. Apart from anything else, FSC is probably not currently compliant with the requirements of ISEAL, the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance, to which the FSC is affiliated.
The following was submitted by the Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders’ Alliance: