FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Considers Changing Standards to Certify Recent Loggers

The certification body, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), has taken steps to allow timber companies that have been logging since 1994 to apply for certification.

Since its inception 23 years ago, FSC has refused to certify logging companies. This is to convert it to a timber plantation. This was not changed by the passage of Motion 7 by the General Assembly on October 13 in Vancouver, British Columbia, but was endorsed by members of an association of private companies, individuals and NGO conservation groups . This suggests that the requirements for FSC certification may change. Proponents say the measure will increase access to certification in developing countries. But some have questioned the actual effectiveness of the certification itself , saying changing the reference date could lead to increased deforestation.

Aditya Bayunanda of WWF Indonesia said, “I think it’s becoming more and more obvious to FSC that this 1994 standard is becoming an obstacle. FSC has to be open to everyone.” rice field.

Mr. Bayunanda proposed the principal motion and discussions continued on the regulatory change.

In his view, the change in standards will also allow participation by vendors from developing countries whose economies were just starting to pick up around the time the FSC was established.

“This was not the intention,” Bayunanda said in an interview. “It just happened.”

Bayunanda said compliance with FSC standards for biodiversity conservation and human rights protection will be required for these vendors to be certified. And just because it’s possible to get certified doesn’t make it any easier, he warned.

At this time, the motion does not specifically say what FSC will require in order for a company that has logged since 1994 to be certified, but Bayunanda said that an area equal to the amount of land logged has been cleared. He said the land would need to be “restored or preserved.” In addition, there will be a need to compensate local communities for the ‘social damage’ caused by land conversion. These two will be “fundamental change drivers,” Bayunanda said.

“Now contractors have to be leaders in restoration and conservation,” Bayunanda added.

Bill Barclay of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said that whatever changes were made, “if the 1994 rules were to be changed and approved unanimously at the FSC General Assembly, the compensation standards We need to set very high standards in terms of , indicators and methodologies.” And “a comprehensive assessment of how deforestation harms not only the environment but also communities,” Barclay added. RAN is a member of FSC.

“A new rule with such stringent requirements could result in the restoration and conservation of hundreds of hectares of forest and social compensation for local communities,” Grant Rosoman said in an email. Grant Rosoman is an advisor to Greenpeace’s Global Forest Solutions. Greenpeace is also a member of FSC.

But other rainforest conservationists say moving the reference date to the present would yield to the desires of foresters and plantation companies.

Simon Counsell, director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, called the passing of the principal motion “a clear and major turning point for FSC”. Passing the motion would consider allowing “FSC certification of wood products from forests that are being destroyed, but not sustainably managed forests”.

“It will be the final blow to FSC’s credibility,” Counsel added in an email.

Chris Lang of the website Red Monitor expressed concern about the implications of the rule change for those directly affected by forest conversion.

“The benefits for the pulp and paper industry are clear, but it is very difficult to imagine whether this resolution will help indigenous peoples and communities who are fighting to keep monocultures from growing on their lands. There is,” Lang said.

But Greenpeace’s Rosoman said it was mostly “other shareholders”, not the planters, who supported Motion 7. Some traders oppose the 1994 rule changes because they serve as a “trade protection measure” and prevent competitors from obtaining certification.

However, Lang says the FSC’s goal appears to be to increase the percentage of timber companies that are certified, not their sustainability.

“Motion 7 will undoubtedly allow FSC to certify more destructive wood plantation operators, which will increase the percentage of industrial timber certified. There is little chance of making a difference.”

“This raises an important question about FSC certification: whether FSC-certified businesses are actually sustainable,” Cyril Kormos, vice president of the Wild Foundation, said in an email. Stated. “There is very strong evidence that even certified logging operations are not sustainable, and they will need huge subsidies to become truly sustainable.”

FSC certification is clearly better than conventional logging – there is little doubt about it,” Kormos said. “That doesn’t mean it’s good enough, let alone truly sustainable.”

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