The following has been submitted by the Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders.
Despite what Greenpeace might want the public believe about the FSC being well on the way to becoming a credible certification scheme again, people living with the effects of some of FSC’s certified operations know better. In Ireland, as FSC-Watch has been reporting
for the last two years, the state forestry company Coillte has remained FSC certified for the last seven years, despite the numerous failures being known by both its certifier and the FSC itself. The latest report of Coillte’s negligent practices shown below have been published in the Irish Examiner newspaper.
FSC’s forthcoming 3-yearly General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, looks like it will be a farcical exercise in corporate-sponsored public relations, whilst the disparity between what the organisation likes to think it is doing and what it is actually doing continues to grow.
In the following contribution, Philip Owen of Southern African NGO GeaSphere, reports on the ecological devastation caused by the FSC certified industrial plantations in South Africa. The article illustrates the problems in one particular site, certified by the ‘Soil Association’ WoodMark, which overall has certified nearly 500,000 hectares of plantations in South Africa. Readers will not miss the irony that one of the major impacts has been on the soils of the region, and will no doubt question how such an operation could be certified by an organisation which purports to be concerned with the conservation of the world’s soil. A further 1 million hectares have been certified by the now discredited SGS-Qualifor.
In the past, FSC-Watch has been welcoming towards the work of Accreditation Services International (ASI), the FSC body which is supposed to ensure that the FSC’s Principles and Criteria are upheld by the accredited certifiers. There is no doubt that monitoring of the certifiers has improved in recent years. But, for every audit of the certifiers carried out by ASI, there has been a failure to take meaningful action – even in cases where certifiers have been found by ASI to have issued certificates to blatantly non-compliant forest managers.
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.