The Forest Stewardship Council’s public demonstration that it is the “gold-standard for responsible forest management” has been wrecked following the release of a bombshell report today by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), following the revelation of new research that finds FSC-labeled paper containing endangered tropical species in its allegedly environmentally-safe, certified products. These results show that FSC engages in the same practices it accuses Asian paper companies of committing.
The analysis – Stop the War on the Poor – FSC and NGOs: Environmental Mythology – highlights how “Big Green” threatens companies and consumers into sourcing FSC-certified paper products, shackles developing economies into the poverty trap and raises costs for consumers in the U.S., particularly America’s disadvantaged, minority communities.
“This new research reveals FSC paper products are far more environmentally-harmful than FSC would like people to believe. With FSC products containing red lauan (shorea) – among the world’s most critically endangered tropical species – FSC is hardly a practitioner of responsible environmental stewardship. 'Big Green', in promoting FSC, has been selling the American people a bag of coal. CORE calls upon Greenpeace, Forest Ethics and Rainforest Action Network to urge FSC to investigate these claims instead of hailing it as a savior of the world’s forests,” said Niger Innis, spokesman of the Congress of Racial Equality and author of the new report.
“'Big Green’ goes a long way to pressure governments, companies and consumers that it’s the FSC-way or the highway. According to their logic, if you don’t switch to FSC, you might as well be killing tigers in your front yard. Well, this logic is a myth, just like the myth that FSC helps the world’s poor.”
“FSC certification poses a lose-lose scenario for developing countries: fail to meet the excessive costs and restrictive criteria of FSC certification and be forced out of the global timber trade by a system that favors the rich; or, gain FSC certification and fall victim to a Green agenda that restricts the much-needed development of your natural resources. Now what kind of choice is that?” Innis concluded.
FSC-certified goods are more expensive, environmentally-destructive and impractical for developing countries to produce. The analysis exposes three FSC myths:
Myth 1: FSC is Transparent – FSC created its own NGO-influenced certification system without regard for national forest management standards or international standards bodies. FSC therefore lacks the arms’ length separation and independence enshrined in more reputable certification systems, such as Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) or Program for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC).
Myth 2: FSC Protects Endangered Species – FSC products contain tropical forest species such as red lauan (shorea), a species listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Myth 3: FSC Helps the World’s Poor – FSC labels increase the cost of otherwise low-priced goods in places like Wal-Mart for America’s disadvantaged, minority communities. Additionally, FSC certification is denied to goods produced from land converted from forests after 1994. This rule denies the developing world’s poor the opportunity of greater access to global markets.