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Ahead of meeting, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) loses another supporter

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
June 19, 2011
Publisher Name: 
Jeremy Hance
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The forest organization, FERN, has pulled its support from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), reports FSC-Watch. FERN has quit the increasingly troubled organization due to FSC pursuing carbon credits through forestry. The FSC loses FERN just weeks before its 6th General Assembly, in which FSC partners—including private corporations and some environmental groups—will meet to debate current practices.

The FSC logo certifies forestry and plantation operations as 'sustainable', however the organization has been under fire for years from some smaller environmental groups, while many large environmental groups, including WWF, Greenpeace, the Nature Conservancy, and the Rainforest Alliance, continue as members of the initiative.

For its part, FERN had warned the FSC that if it "became actively involved in the certification of carbon forestry practices […]FERN will have to leave the FSC."

FSC's involvement in carbon credits poses several problems according to FERN. Carbon credits could reward bad companies for improving their environmental record, while giving no additional reward to companies who have always acted responsibly creating a perverse incentive, says FERN. In addition, the FSC risks further aggravating social conflicts, increasing complexities within monitoring, and handing out certifications that don't live up to their touts of carbon sequestration.

"How likely would it be for an offset credit with 'FSC approval' to be found to come from a project that did not really 'reduce' emissions?," asks FERN in a statement regarding its leaving the organization. "This would have a negative impact on the climate and be a potential PR disaster for the FSC."

FSC has faced criticism for a number of practices, including certifying plantations, clear-cutting, and logging of old-growth forests as sustainable forestry. It has also certified companies linked to social conflict and human-rights violations. In fact Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a brand that has been widely criticized for large-scale rainforest and peatland destruction in Indonesia, was certified by the FSC until an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2007 pushed the FSC to drop it.

"In our view, FSC’s decision to align itself with forest carbon offsetting is not only unwise from a forest and climate perspective, but also increases the risks FSC exposes itself to at a time where its credibility remains challenged and when FSC has stated that regaining its credibility is one of its main tasks," concludes FERN.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut