Behind the logo: An environmental and social assessment of forest certification schemes
orest certification can be an important tool to improve forest management. It is neither a panacea to solve the world's forest crisis, nor can it replace regulations and legislation. However, it can and should complement these tools.
The role forest certification can play depends on the strength of the chosen certification system. Certification systems currently in operation are significantly different from each other in terms of procedural and performance requirements.
The four largest are: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Pan European Forest Certification Scheme (PEFC). The FSC is a global program, the CSA is only applicable in Canada, the SFI is mainly applicable in the US and Canada, and the PEFC provides a framework for national certification schemes in up to 14 European countries.
The CSA, PEFC and SFI are certification systems initiated and, in most cases, governed primarily by the forestry industry and forest owners. Although attempts by the forestry industry and forest owners to improve forest management are to be encouraged, we believe that the CSA, the SFI and the PEFC do not fulfil the basic requirements for credible forest certification systems and should not be preferred or promoted by consumers or corporate purchasers.
Certification is a process by which an independent third party gives written assurances that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements.
To be effective, forest certification must:
Applying these basic requirements to the four different certification systems shows clearly why the FSC is currently the only certification system that meets these requirements:
The above is a joint NGO Statement by: Alberta Forest Conservation Association, Canada; Albertans for a Wild Chinchaga, Canada; American Lands, USA; ARA, Germany; Boreal Footprint Project, USA; Both Ends, Netherlands; Bruno Manser Fund, Switzerland; Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society; Centre for International Studies, Canada; Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, Malaysia; Clearinghouse Group, Canada Club Ornithologique du Madawaska, Canada; Defenders of Wildlife, USA; Ecological Institute International, Canada; Environment Neroth, Canada ; Falls Brook Centre, Canada; Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists, Canada; Fern, UK-Brussels; Finnish Nature League; Forest Ethics, USA ; Forest Peoples Programme, UK; Friends of the Earth (FoE), England, Wales and Northern Ireland; FoE, France; FoE, Indonesia-WALHI; FoE, Netherlands FoE, Norway; FoE, Slovakia; FoE, USA; Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia; Global Witness, UK; Greenpeace International; Greenpeace, Austria/France/Germany/ Italy /Netherlands/Switzerland/New Zealand; ICUCEC, Canada; Institute for Development and Alternative Living, Malaysia; Just Forests, Ireland; National Wildlife Federation, USA; Netherlands Committee for Indigenous Peoples; Natural Resources Defence Council, USA; PERC, USA; People and Nature Network, Germany; Potlotek Fish & Wildlife Association, Canada; Rainforest Alliance, USA; Saskatchewan Forest Conservation Network, Canada; Sierra Club, Canada; Sierra Club, BC-Canada; Sierra Club USA; South East Yukon Proper Land Use Society, Canada; TIES, Canada; Urgewald, Germany; Woodwise Program, Co-op America; WWF, Canada; WWF, European Forest Team; WF, USA; Yukon Chapter, Canada.
Report produced by Fern, May 2001, based on case studies by WWF France, Taiga Consulting, Taiga Rescue Network, Robin Wood, NRDC, Fern, Finnish Nature League, Greenpeace International. The full report, Behind the logo, is available from Fern: www.fern.org