FSC Case Studies

Working together to improve FSC

Publication - 4 August, 2014
To keep FSC certification as a credible tool to help protect forests, Greenpeace International is publishing a series of case studies exposing controversial operations that are posing the greatest risk to the FSC’s integrity. We will also be highlighting best practice operations that are meeting and/or exceeding the FSC’s principles and criteria.

These case studies will show the standards that must be consistently met if the FSC is to maintain its credibility.

FSC at Risk: FSC in Russia

For this case study Greenpeace conducted a comprehensive satellite imagery-based analysis (2002-2013) of industrial forest practices in an area with a high concentration of companies that were either currently or formerly FSC-certified, or had applied for FSC certification. The area is located in an interfluve – an elevated area between the valleys of adjacent watercourses – between the Northern Dvina and Pinega rivers in the Arkhangelsk region of northwest Russia. The case study area is known for the valuable intact forest landscape at its centre, the Dvinsky Forest (IFL). The companies operating in this area all employ the destructive “wood mining” model. The area covered by this case study is facing its final wave of “wood mining”, which is advancing rapidly towards the central interfluve and into the Dvinsky Forest (IFL). 

Greenpeace’s analysis estimates that, at best, there is only enough coniferous forest outside the Dvinsky Forest (IFL) to supply the areas’ forest industry for another 8-13 years if cut rates remain the same.

Download FSC Case Study 06: FSC in Russia

FSC at Risk: Resolute Forest Management

This case study highlights serious problems regarding how Resolute Forest Products' compliance with FSC's Principle and Criteria forest management standard were originally assessed, a serious gap in FSC IFLs protection requirements, and with the way FSC's Controlled Wood is currently assessed. Although FSC suspended some of Resolute's certificates effective January 1, 2014, shockingly, wood from these formerly certified areas is entering the FSC wood product stream as Controlled Wood (CW).

Download FSC Case Study 05: Resolute Forest Management

FSC at Work: Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC)

MRC's level of engagement with stakeholders, transparency and sophistication in its forest management plans make it a positive example of the FSC at work. Unfortunately, MRC's excellent example of forest management meeting or exceeding FSC Principles is increasingly an exception, compared to the norm of what one could expect under FSC certification. To ensure more organisations are performing to the same standards as MRC, FSC needs to urgently produce a toolkit for forest managers on how to protect high conservation values.

Download FSC Case Study 04: Mendocino Redwood Company

FSC at Risk: Resolute Controlled Wood

This case study describes an FSC chain-of-custody (CoC) certificate – held by Resolute Forest Products – that isn't consistent with FSC's CoC standard for sourcing controlled wood, and presents a liability to the FSC reputation and brand. The case study shows how the company is using "controlled wood" that does not respect key FSC principles related to the maintenance of HCVs and the rights of indigenous peoples.

Update: Greenpeace updated this FSC case study on 11th October 2013 to reflect new information regarding the number of facilities in Resolute's chain of custody.

Download FSC Case Study 03: Resolute Controlled Wood

FSC at Work: Ecotrust Canada

This case study is an example of how FSC certification has successfully led to a substantial improvement in forest management practices from the status quo. It profiles how the forest management group, Ecotrust Canada, respects and in places even exceeds key FSC's Principles and Criteria, thereby maintaining the forests' ecological and social values.

Download FSC Case Study 02: Ecotrust Canada

FSC at Risk: Finland

This case study describes how FSC chain-of-custody (CoC) certificates – held by Finland's three largest pulp and paper producers UPM, Stora Enso and Metsä Group – do not comply with FSC's CoC standard for sourcing controlled wood, and therefore present a liability to the FSC reputation and brand. These companies are sourcing “controlled wood” in contravention of requirements for the maintenance of high conversation values.

Greenpeace updated this FSC case study on 29 August 2013. References to the Swiss Association for Quality and Management Services (SQS) on pages 4 and 9 have been removed following confirmation from SQS that it was not responsible for verifying any FSC certificates mentioned in the case study.

Download FSC Case Study 01: Finland

FSC at Risk: Progress Report

Greenpeace believes that, if all FSC supporters work together, we can resolve the shortcomings the system currently faces, and preserve the credibility and legitimacy of FSC.

Download the Progress Report.

What is the FSC?

Click here to learn more about the FSC and why Greenpeace supports it as the leading standard for responsible forest management and wood products certification.