FSC-Watch has reported numerous times on the shambles that is the FSC’s Irish Forest Certification Initiative (IFCI), and the associated certificate issued to the state forestry company, Coillte. After more than six years of discussion, consuming copious amounts of funding and stakeholders’ effort, IFCI has still failed to come up with a credible national standard.
FSC-Watch has reported several times on the on-going problems with the FSC certification of the Irish state forestry company, Coillte. The conflict over this particular certificate is but one of many such conflicts worldwide, but in some ways it exemplifies the worst of the FSC. Amongst Irish stakeholders, the FSC is becoming a bye-word for incompetence, foot-dragging and obstruction. FSC’s activities in Ireland have now sparked a formal complaint though, as FSC-Watch has reported, given the state of FSC’s complaints’ procedures, it is difficult to see how or if this could bring a satisfactory resolution to a problem that has now been festering for nearly 8 years.
Finally, as the FSC’s inspectors arrive at its doors for its annual accreditation inspection, Soil Association WoodMark has produced the long-awaited and overdue report of its 2006 surveillance of controversial Irish state forestry company, Coillte.
More than three months after its most recent surveillance visit, Soil Association Woodmark has still failed to produce a Public Summary report stating whether, or under what conditions, it believes that the Irish state forestry company, Coillte, can remain FSC-certified.
In November 2004, on a visit to Swaziland with Wally Menne of TimberWatch, I saw the destruction caused by fifty years of industrial forestry “development”. Many of the plantations were established under a British “aid” programme run by the Colonial Development Corporation (now called CDC Group – a private equity company whose sole shareholder is the UK Department for International Development).
The following letter recently appeared in the Irish newspaper, the Examiner.
It paints a disturbing picture of the environmental impact of the FSC-certified state forestry company, Coillte, which controls around 400,000 hectares of land in Ireland. FSC-Watch has reported on Coillte several times in the past – but the certificate remains as a stain on FSC’s credibility.
When Soil Association WoodMark re-certified the 10,000 hectares of Masarykův les Křtiny (ŠLP), a State-owned forest in the Czech Republic in 2004 (which had first been certified in 1997), one of the notable features of the Public Summary report was the number of times in which the phrase “to be implemented immediately on certification” was used in relation to the numerous Corrective Action Requests issued. In other words, SLP had not actually achieved whatever standards WoodMark used to assess them (there was no national FSC Standard in the Czech Republic at the time of the assessment), but would hopefully achieve them afterwards.
Some readers of FSC-Watch will no doubt have been surprised to learn that the UK-based NGO Soil Association has, through it’s subsidiary certification body WoodMark, started the process of certifying parts of the notorious Indonesian plantation company Perhutani.
The Soil Association’s FSC-accredited certifier WoodMark has just announced a ‘stakeholder consultation’ for the potential certification of two management units of the huge Indonesian plantation company, Perhutani.
The following was submitted by the Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders’ Alliance: