Legality

FSC fails to kick out Schweighofer despite “clear and convincing evidence” of illegalities in Romania

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.

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Another Smartwood FSC certificate embarrassment as Peruvian authorities make record raid on illegal timber ops

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)

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Corruption scandal: Eucalyptus Fibre Congo accused of paying “black money” in the Republic of Congo, while it was FSC certified

A company called Eucalyptus Fibre Congo S.A. is alleged to have paid at least US$76,500 in “black money” to Congolese public officials in 2012. At the time, the company held an FSC chain of custody certificate.

Three weeks ago, Arnaud Labrousse sent an email to Kim Carstensen, FSC’s Director General. Labrousse has a few questions for FSC. Unfortunately, FSC seems reluctant to answer them.

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How did DLH, a company trading illegal timber from Liberia, get FSC certification?

In February 2015, the Forest Stewardship Council announced that it was kicking out Danish timber giant Dalhoff Larsen and Horneman (DLH). FSC did so after investigations by Global Witness revealed that DLH had traded illegal timber from Liberia.

But how did a company trading illegal timber get FSC certification in the first place?

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Gibson Guitars fiasco raises new questions about integrity of Rainforest Alliance

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.

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Things not improving in Rio Platano, Honduras – more questions for Rainforest Alliance and FSC

Last week saw the distressing announcement by UNESCO that the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve had been put back on the organisation’s ‘In Danger’ list, at the request of the Honduran government because, it said, of “the combined threats of illegal logging, fishing and land occupation, poaching and the reduced capacity of the State to manage the site”. Covering 500,000 hectares, and being one of Central America’s most important protected areas, Rio Platano has also gained fame as being a source of mahogany used in the manufacture of Gibson guitars.

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FSC’s mysterious disappearing certificates #2: SEFAC, Cameroon

Another of the many deeply troubling but now, at least temporarily, vanished FSC certficates exposed by FSC-Watch is that of the rainforest logging ‘SEFAC group’ in Cameroon. The SEFAC certificate disapeared off FSC’s certified forest database sometime during 2009. Neither FSC nor SEFAC itself, nor the logger’s certifier, ICILA, provided an explanation for this.

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FSC and the Lacey Act: the $500,000 question

In May 2008, the US government enacted a revision to the Lacey Act, a hundred year-old piece of legislation that renders it illegal to trade in goods in the US which are from illegal sources, which now makes the Act applicable to the timber trade. Whilst timber traders are no doubt hoping that use of FSC certified wood is going to keep them out of prison, they may be in for a nasty shock.

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Greenpeace exposes FSC’s ‘Controlled Wood’ fiction: Finland logging ‘Out of Control’

A new report from Greenpeace published this month confirms what this website has beenwarning for nearly two years: that the FSC’s so-called Controlled Wood Policy is a shambles, and is allowing wood from highly unacceptable sources into the FSC certified chain of custody.

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Millions of FSC certified trees to be uprooted as Brazilian court condemns Veracel

A final blow has been dealt to the credibility of the now ‘self-suspended’ FSC certifier SGS, by a Brazilian Federal court decision that nearly one hundred thousand hectares of eucalyptus plantation owned by SGS-certified company Veracel were planted illegally and will have to be torn down within 12 months. The company has also been ordered to pay $12 million in fines for causing environmental damage.

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