Yes! Forest Stewardship Council passes historic forest protection

by Judy Rodrigues

September 12, 2014

Healthy forest in Bukit Tigapuluh National Conservation Area in Jambi province. Greenpeace, together with representatives from the National Parliament and the Indonesian National Police, bear witness to the huge destruction of Indonesias natural peatland forest in Sumatra. Deforestation is a key source of Indonesias greenhouse gas emissions, making the country the third largest contributor to global emissions. Greenpeace is demanding the Indonesian government to fully review the existing logging concessions and to institute full protection of peatland and natural forests.

© Kemal Jufri / Greenpeace

This week, Greenpeace has been squirreled away in meetings with members of the FSC’s General Assembly, the membership body that makes decisions about how FSC is governed. To be frank,we’ve been pretty critical of FSC over the last few years. While we’ve never stopped believing that FSC is the only credible forest certification system that can deliver responsible forest products, we’ve seen serious problems with implementation of FSC’s principles in the forest.

This week however, FSC made big strides. The general assembly agreed, with an overwhelming majority, that FSC and FSC certified companies need to protect the vast majority of the world’s Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) across FSC forests. Intact forests are the world’s remaining large pristine forests, which are critical for storing carbon, providing habitat to endangered species, and a livelihood for forest peoples. FSC will start to work at a regional and national level to secure this protection, while respecting the rights of indigenous people and forest communities, as well as allowing some flexibility for industry.

It wasn’t easy we spent days drafting language in a way that was workable for representatives from social groups and industry, but still set a high bar for protecting these pristine forests. Our volunteers gave the negotiations some Greenpeace flair by distributing IFL cocktails to participants, and creating a colourful aerial IFL leaf display at lunch time. We’re pleased that our efforts worked because we believe that – if implemented- this direction will make a major difference for forests within the FSC system.

We are thrilled to see FSC take this important step in forest conservation and the development of alternative models for forest management taking into account the interest of indigenous peoples.

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