In recent years, the UK-based NGO Earthsight has produced a series of investigative reports featuring the problems with the Forest Stewardship Council. These include exposing illegal Russian timber and illegal Ukrainian timber, both certified as legal and sustainable by FSC and sold by IKEA; and illegal Peruvian timber, FSC-certified and on sale by Robinson Lumber in the USA.
At the start of last year’s FSC General Assembly Earthsight coordinated an open letter to FSC, highlighting what’s wrong with FSC and demanding immediate reforms. The letter was signed by 34 organisations.
For the recent documentary “Who is Protecting our Forests?”, ARTE journalists Manfred Ladwig and Thomas Reutter visit the operations of Bozovich Timber Products, an FSC-certified logging company. The company is supported by the German government.
The journalists ask whether the chain of custody is better monitored in Peru than in Cambodia and Vietnam.
On November 24th, according to a report in the Peruvian newspaper La Republica, police raided the docks in the Amazon port of Iquitos, confiscating the equivalent of 60 heavy truck-loads of timber. The wood, worth around $0.5m, was bound for Mexico and the US – and reportedly 80% of it was owned by the FSC certified company, Inversiones La Oroza SRL. (Posting amended 10/12/15)
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.
It’s official: the FSC is now setting out to use its grotesque Controlled (sic) Wood Policy in order to ‘launder’ wood from areas experiencing recent deforestation into the FSC certified wood supply chain.
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.
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.