Earlier this week I was involved in launching a new website: FSC-watch.org. The website documents the problems with the FSC system and hopes to generate an open discussion of these problems. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s generated a steady flow of emails. Most controversial seems to be the reference to the letter sent to FSC and signed by 75 organisations. The letter is a “closed” letter – which some people seem to think means that we can’t even talk about it.
They are saying we can challenge FSC, but only in private. This is precisely why I wanted to be involved in FSC-watch.org. There has been much criticism of FSC behind closed doors, but FSC has done little or nothing to address the criticisms. It’s about time the criticisms became public.
November 6th 2006. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New internet platform challenges the Forest Stewardship Council
A new website launched today – www.fsc-watch.org – raises urgent questions about the world’s most widely adopted timber certification scheme, the Forest Stewardship Council. The site contains information on a number of certificates issued by the FSC where areas of forest are being badly managed or destroyed, or where other important wildlife habitats, such as wetlands, are also being damaged. While these examples may or may not be typical of all FSC-certified operations, they demonstrate that something is seriously wrong with the FSC’s certification system.
Amongst the examples of highly questionable FSC certificates are:
– a logging company in Cameroon had been documented by Greenpeace as being involved in illegal rainforest logging shortly before it was certified by the FSC;
– in Ireland, the national forestry company, Coillte, has been certified by the FSC despite protests by local environmental groups that the company has been responsible for major environmental damage, including the destruction of wildlife habitats and pesticide poisoning.
– a Panamanian forestry company certified by the FSC has been revealed to have been a major financial scam, with links to the Mafia.
– an FSC-certified logging operation in the forests of Laos has been found to be operating in breach of both FSC standards and the Lao forestry law.
– in Uruguay, FSC-certified monoculture tree plantations have led to wetlands and farmers’ wells drying out. Work in the plantations is dangerous and working conditions are dreadful.
The launch of the site follows shortly after 75 environmental and human rights organisations world-wide, including WWF and Greenpeace, wrote to the Forest Stewardship Council expressing concern about the FSC’s inability to ensure ‘quality control’ over its certificates, and calling for urgent reforms.
The coordinators of FSC-watch said: “The Forest Stewardship Council system is in serious disarray. The FSC and its supporters have failed to reveal the extent of the problems, or to take control of them, and have continued to promote the myth that the FSC is a reliable means of certifying environmentally and socially acceptable forestry operations. The public are being misled into believing that they can buy FSC-labelled products with a clear conscience.”
FSC-watch.org shows that there are many major flaws in the FSC system that urgently need addressing, and provides an open forum to discuss these problems.
For further information contact FSC-watch.org