Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Greenpeace International announced today it is not renewing its membership in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a global timber certification scheme for which the NGO was a founding member 25 years ago. Matt Daggett, Global Campaign Leader for the Forest Campaign at Greenpeace International, said:
“We are firmly committed to advancing the best possible forest protections for people, biodiversity, and the climate. We believe robust timber certification is a helpful but imperfect tool for protecting people’s rights and improving forest management, which is why Greenpeace International will not renew its Forest Stewardship Council membership nor participate as a member of any other timber certification scheme.
“When implemented effectively, Forest Stewardship Council certification can protect people’s rights and improve forest management, but we no longer have confidence that FSC alone can consistently guarantee enough protection, especially when forests are facing multiple threats. FSC is not consistently applied across regions, especially where there’s weak governance.
“Some local Greenpeace offices that operate in countries with stronger governance may maintain FSC membership so that they can push for stronger implementation at a national level.
“Transparency is the foundation for effective accountability, for certification schemes, governments, and companies. For a certification scheme to be considered credible in 2018, I believe it must transparently publish the mapped boundaries of sourcing areas and assessment reports to allow external monitoring and input. We are calling on FSC and all certification schemes to act with urgency to improve their transparency.
“Timber certification is a helpful but insufficient tool in the struggle to save our forests – we’ve always asked companies to go above and beyond. We encourage companies to firstly reduce their use of virgin fibre and use recycled and responsible alternative fibre whenever they are available. When virgin wood fibre is required, we still encourage the use of 100% FSC, with additional due diligence.”
A briefing document on Greenpeace International’s position can be found here.
Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)
As a FSC/PEFC COC auditor for over 20 years, working with supply chains across 6 continents I welcome this decision. As a result of it's focus on brand building rather than 'environmentally appropriate' and 'socially benefical' forestry FSC has allowed those with their focus on the 'commercially viable' aspects of forestry to become the dominant force. As the principal funders of FSC these commercial enterprises who, for the most part at least, regard the environmental and social requirements of forest certification as little more than a necessary evil, we should not be surprised as this steady erosion of the integrity of the FSC certification system. Like any 'democratic' governance system those with the better funding will nearly always win the day...... He who pays the piper calls the tune....... The bold approach required by FSC is to reverse the steady dilution of the requirement of their standard in favour of business interests. The percentage and credit systems that facilitate the ever increasing volumes of non-certified wood fibre to carry the FSC logo are the principal cause of the loss of FSC's credibility. The corruption in Afro/Asian supply chains is also a very significant issue that is yet to be properly addressed. I would recommend a 3-5 year target to scrap the FSC Mix concept as a step towards restoring credibility. A significant failing of the FSC approach to forest products certification, overseen by Accreditation Services International (ASI) , their policeman, has been the steady transition over the years towards a 'Management Systems' approach to certification. FSC certification is not and never has been suitable for a management systems approach. It is a performance standard, not a management standard. A consequence of the management systems approach is that that the most challenging part of conducting a COC audit on a certified supply chain element is meeting the procedural requiremtns of the certification body, (under the commercial stranglehold of ASI). Auditing the business to verify they are buying processing and selling certified timber in accordance with the requirements of the FSC standard is easy in comparison to meeting the CB's procedures. If FSC is to remain credible and relevant it needs to get back to it's roots and focus on what matters, the well being of forests and the people who rely on them i.e every single one of us, rather than the plc's.
The real problem lies behind FSC's dominance by pulp and paper companies, who want quantity, not quality. First there was percentage-based claims, later called 'mixed sources' to allow non-FSC forest management sources to enter the supply chain, then there was wood from 'non controversial/low risk' sources, now called 'controlled wood'. These policies, and gaining equivalency in some countries with rival weaker schemes, have not helped. All the while FSC panders to the 'the Panda' (WWF), which is lock step with the larger users of the system (toilet paper manufacturers, home furniture stores, large publishing houses) the system cannot change. Such unaccountable relationships outside the system have rendered the scheme meaningless. In Australia for example, FSC has been accused of being associated with companies that have been logging in koala habitat. The problem is further compounded by poor governance throughout the system, not just issues of transparency. Until FSC's own institutional governance is improved, not just logging operations on the ground, it will not get any better.
Nice post. It was really helpful to all of us. Thanks for sharing. - samsung mobile service center in ambattur