FSC: under criticism from Greenpeace

The Forest Stewardship Council has been around for 20 years. Maybe that is as long as it takes to attract criticism when an organization is seeking to strike a balance between the environmentally perfect and the environmentally good. It is challenging to achieve business success when resources, in this case forest resources, are potentially threatened by increasing demand.

Most involved groups see the FSC as a valuable organization for certifying sustainably managed forests. But there are other categories of FSC certification of pulp and paper products which are not quite so straightforward. Greenpeace Canada  claims that the FSC MIX certification category may be threatening species diversity in northern European forests. FSC MIX is what it appears to be: a mix of wood fibre from various sources but with less stringent overall environmental rules than the certified sustainably managed forest category.

According to Greenpeace, some FSC MIX wood products are coming from flying squirrel habitat and old-growth forests, which are being clear-cut by the Finnish state forestry company, Metsahallitus. Greenpeace states that this is not responsible forestry and should not be endorsed by the FSC.

Greenpeace Canada is not the only environmental organization with some criticism of certified sustainably produced forest products. It is not even the most strident. The forest industry needs to pay attention, and fast. Otherwise the concept of certified sustainably managed forest will go down the river and battles over the environmental impacts of forest products will resume.

A Greenpeace Canada commentary on FSC certification is at http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/Blog/working-together-for-stronger-fsc/blog/45781/

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