At it’s General Assembly in Bali last week, FSC’s members voted to allow companies to be certified that have cleared forest to make way for industrial tree plantations between 1994 and 2000. In order to be certified, the company has to restore an area of forest equal to the area they destroyed. The cut-off date has now been moved to 2020. Any company converting forest to plantations after 2020 cannot be certified. Until FSC makes another decision to scrap its cut-off date, that is.
For the recent documentary “Who is Protecting our Forests?”, ARTE’s journalists Manfred Ladwig and Thomas Reutter visit Industrie Forestière de Ouesso’s Ngombé logging concession in the Republic of Congo. The concession covers more than one million hectares, all of which is FSC-certified, according to the documentary. IFO is part of Danzer GmbH, a company registered in Switzerland.
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.
In August this year, FSC proudly announced that it had ‘re-associated’ itself with the Swiss timber conglomerate, Danzer. But there remain serious doubts about whether FSC’s credibility will be further damaged by this decision.
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.
Greenpeace has just released a very critical report about FSC’s failure to prevent forest destruction even in FSC certified logging operations in Russia. The report is titled, “FSC in Russia: Certifying the Destruction of Intact Forest Landscapes” and can be downloaded here. Greenpeace reports that,
The FSC is failing to distinguish good forest management practices from the typical model of unsustainable forest exploitation widely employed in intact boreal, or taiga, forests. It is therefore failing in its mission to be a tool for forest protection.