WWF, FSC and a conflict of interest

Posted: 5 September 2006 in FSC Plantations Review

At a recent meeting about the Forest Stewardship Council’s ongoing plantations review NGOs present decided to write a letter to FSC. Well most of us did. WWF felt that this wasn’t the right time to write an open letter which might be interpreted as being critical of FSC.

Of course, it’s up to WWF to decide what the organisation can or cannot sign on to. But it’s interesting to note that in Vietnam, WWF is currently working with Forexco, a company which plans to get its 4,100 hectares of acacia monoculture certified under FSC. Forexco supplies furniture to IKEA.

Forexco hopes to become part of WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network (GTFN). The GFTN consists of more than 300 companies that WWF is working with, in the hope that the companies will at some point in the future be certified under the FSC system. (And while the companies are working towards this goal, WWF very politely keeps very quiet about them.)

In July 2006, WWF carried out an assessment to review Forexco’s plantation management against the GFTN checklist. WWF also helped draw up an action plan to help Forexco meet FSC’s requirements.

Clearly WWF is unlikely to criticise FSC – no matter how much criticism FSC receives or how much evidence is put in front of its staff that there are serious problems with the FSC system.

The next time WWF staff find themselves in an NGO meeting about FSC, perhaps they should declare their conflict of interest and leave the room.

  1. Sarah Apele says:

    WWF’s dealings with the timber industry in Vietnam are just the tip of the iceberg. WWF are, in fact, taking money from the timber industry all over the world, through the so-called Global Forest and Trade Network. This includes not only ‘candidates’ for FSC certification, but also companies that are operating illegally, such as in Cameroon.

    Whilst the examples of awful FSC certificates have continued to pile up, WWF has done nothing to stop this from happening. Some people wonder whether, apart from the fact that WWF is taking money from loggers, this has also got something to do with their formal ‘partnership’ with the World Bank, the so-called World Bank-WWF Forest Alliance. Through this, WWF not only gets money, but is also committed to the certification of 100 million hectares of forest. So, better let the loggers be certified, even if they don’t deserve it. It’s a ‘win-win-win’ situation! (for the World Bank, WWF and the logging industry, that is).

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