Forest Stewardship Council wins award for leading role in forest management

Press release - 15 December, 2004
Greenpeace congratulated the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for winning the prestigious 'Alcan Prize for Sustainability' today (1). The FSC was awarded one million USD for the contribution it has made towards improving forest management around the world.

"The logging industry is putting ancient forest areas and the homes of indigenous people at risk all over the world. The FSC deserves to be congratulated for setting up the only international certification system and label that gives a reliable reassurance to consumers that they're buying products from well managed forests," said Judy Rodrigues of Greenpeace International. "Governments, corporations and the timber trade all over the world are recognising that FSC is the 'gold' standard and preferred system," she added. (2)

As a founding member and active stakeholder in the FSC, Greenpeace recommends that the Council spends today's prize money on further improving forest management in the southern hemisphere. This would involve encouraging more local communities and indigenous peoples to engage in the certification process. Furthermore, it should assist companies that cannot reach the certification standards in the short term and guide them towards full certification by developing a 'stepwise' approach that divides the process into a series of phases.

Greenpeace also considers that the FSC should continue to play a leading role beyond forest certification and step up efforts to identify controversial sources of wood or fibre. These would include forests in which wood is harvested illegally or involves the conversion of natural forest to plantation or non-forest land. It would also include wood harvested from forests in which high conservation values are threatened, genetically modified trees are grown and areas where there is social conflict.

"The FSC has set a positive precedence for the forest sector on how to effectively promote products from good management in a globalised market. Its standard is a model for promoting sustainable business practices that should be further developed in the forest sector and mirrored by industrial sectors worldwide," concluded Rodrigues.

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Notes: (1) The Alcan Prize for Sustainability is awarded annually to a not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation that continues to make significant contributions in promoting economic, environmental, and social sustainability for the benefit of present and future generations. The FSC is a member organisation that certifies well managed forests. Certification is based on high quality standards, developed from a balance of economic, social and environmental interests. To date, the FSC has been responsible for certifying over 46 million hectares of forest in 60 countries. Over ten thousand certified forest products have carried the FSC label. More and more retailers and consumers globally are asking for FSC certified products.