One of FSC’s long-term NGO supporters, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation(SSNC), has said that it will immediately withdraw from the national FSC initiative, noting that “forest certification not good enough”. The announcement yesterday from Sweden will be another major blow to FSC: at nearly 11 million hectares, the country has the third largest certified area, after Canada and Russia. Following SSNC’s observation that the Swedish FSC standard “is weak [and] the lack of observance is substantial”, the credibility of more than 10 per cent of FSC’s global total is now called into question. SSNC was closely involved in the establishment of FSC-Sweden and the drafting of the national standard.
In December 2006, FSC-Watch reported on how the FSC had bowed to pressure from the plantation industry to ‘freeze’ implementation of its pesticides policy, which prohibits the use of a chemicals included on FSC’s ‘banned’ list. Under a decision taken by the International Board, FSC decided to extend until the end of June 2007 the deadline by which forestry companies had to apply for special ‘derogation’ permission to continue using banned chemicals. But FSC-Watch can now reveal that FSC has conspired to allow use of banned chemicals even where no derogation has been granted – and has now removed one of the major ‘safeguards’ that ensured that pesticide derogations were supported by local stakeholders.
FSC-Watch has reported many times on the FSC credibility disaster that has been allowed to persist in Ireland for nearly a decade. Tellingly, despite the glaring failures, neither the FSC Secretariat, ASI, the international Board nor the national initiative itself have had to competence to put ‘FSC Ireland’ onto a credible path. Unsurprisingly, local NGOs are now totally exasperated. Even some parts of the private sector that entered the FSC process in good faith are now de-camping to PEFC instead.
Arguably, the National Initiatives (NIs) have been amongst the most successful parts of the FSC ‘project’: some NIs have genuinely brought together disparate interests to find acceptable compromises, which have allowed for national or regional standards to be developed. These national standards are a key element in ensuring that what the FSC’s accredited certifiers certify is acceptable to local ‘stakeholders’.
From a correspondent in Canada:
Some of the founding members of the national Ecuadorian FSC group, CEFOVE, have announced their withdrawal from the initiative. The withdrawal of Fundación Altropico (and in particular Jaime Levy, who played an important role in the setting up of CEFOVE), as well as the Federation Awá and two individual members indicates the severity of the problems they have subsequently encountered. Their withdrawal is due to both the recent FSC certification of Endesa-Botrosa, and because of the general policy of CEFOVE.