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Double certified forests on the rise, joint PEFC / FSC data report

Double certified forests on the rise, joint PEFC / FSC data report | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The two largest forest certification schemes - PEFC and FSC - have agreed to jointly collect and publish data on double certification, starting from 2016 onwards.

More than 69 million hectares (or 16%) of all certified forests globally are double certified to both PEFC and FSC. This is an increase of 30 million hectares compared to data collected by PEFC in 2012.

Double certification exists because foresters in different parts of the world have chosen to use both PEFC and FSC certification for their forest management units to prove their sustainable forest management practices. As their respective certified forest area appears in both the PEFC and the FSC statistics, this has led to inflated numbers of the total global certified area. 

PEFC and FSC therefore decided to work together to provide a more accurate and mutually agreed estimate for the total global certified area.

"From a global point of view, resources invested in certifying already certified forest area are resources that are not invested in certifying new forest area as sustainably managed," said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.

"Our common goal should be to expand sustainable forest management and to increase the availability of certified forest products. Adding one label on top of another label doesn't help us in achieving this objective," added Mr. Gunneberg.

"One cause of double certification is market access, and here companies have a role to play: by accepting both PEFC and FSC, they remove the pressure on forest owners to double certify.”
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The data collected for 2016 shows that double certification exists in 28 countries. Removing double certification from the statistics shows that a total of 429 million hectares of forests are certified globally. 70% of these forests have a PEFC certificate.

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After FSC Reinstates a Forest in Ontario, CEO Says It's His Last Time for FSC

After FSC Reinstates a Forest in Ontario, CEO Says It's His Last Time for FSC | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

FSC reinstated Resolute Forest Products' Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest, providing its Forest Stewardship Council certificate. The Northwestern Ontario timberland was suspended in January 2014 following an audit by Rainforest Alliance.

The certificate had been temporarily suspended in January 2014 following an audit by Rainforest Alliance. In keeping with the FSC process, Resolute has since undergone two audits, which confirmed that the company is in compliance with the FSC standard. A Corrective Action Verification Audit was carried out in June 2015 and a new Annual Surveillance Audit was completed in September 2015. The results of the successful Annual Surveillance Audit were released last week by Rainforest Alliance.

"Our forestry management practices were already in compliance with the legal and regulatory frameworks of Ontario, which are among the most stringent in the world. We now have the confirmation that they also meet the requirements of the FSC standard," said Richard Garneau, Resolute CEO. "As we look forward as a company, however, we are concerned with the number of challenging issues currently facing FSC and its membership."

Garneau says these include the adoption of Motion 65, which aims to protect intact forest landscapes and its adaptation to the Canadian specific circumstances; the interpretation of Environment Canada's woodland caribou conservation strategy; the merging of all four Canadian FSC standards into a single one while simultaneously introducing a long list of new indicators; and several other issues.
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"We recognize the considerable efforts of FSC and its membership to address these complex issues and Resolute will continue to actively take part in these efforts," Garneau said. "We hope that in doing so, the impact on those whose livelihoods depend on the forest will be taken into consideration in a meaningful way." Considering the seriousness of the issues, the company is concerned about the viability of FSC certification in the Canadian boreal forest, as are other companies, Garneau said.

"Until significant progress is made in addressing these matters, Resolute will work to maintain its existing FSC forest management certificates where possible, but will not pursue new certification," the company said.

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Resolute Forest Products Sues Rainforest Alliance Over FSC Audit

Resolute Forest Products Sues Rainforest Alliance Over FSC Audit | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Resolute Forest Products has filed a lawsuit against the Rainforest Alliance over what RFP views as a "biased" and unfairly critical environmental audit of two of its operations in northern Ontario.


Resolute Forest Products AbitibiBowater Agence France-Presse reported that the Rainforest Alliance's recent audit concluded that Resolute Forest Products should be stripped of its certification with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The Rainforest Alliance is one of a handful of companies recognized by FSC to conduct third-party audits to ensure that companies qualify to receive or renew their FSC certification.


The report, which reportedly was to be released this month, has been sealed by virtue of a court-ordered injunction requested by Resolute Forest Council.


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IKEA subsidiary loses forestry accreditation over harvesting of wildlife habitats

IKEA subsidiary loses forestry accreditation over harvesting of wildlife habitats | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A subsidiary of IKEA that supplies timber to the furniture maker has been stripped of its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation following an audit.


Swedwood Karelia had its FSC certificate suspended after an audit in Russia found a number of problems, including harvesting of “key biotopes”, or important wildlife habitats; the lack of a proper environmental impact assessment; and lack of protective equipment for workers.


A report by the Rainforest Alliance, which carries out audits for the FSC, said: “During the field inspections, auditors found key biotopes had not been identified before harvest and harvested. Harvests of key biotopes were found also at the harvest areas of previous years. That confirmed non conformance to the standard was systematic and lasting over several years.”


The suspension affects 295,348 hectares in the Russian Karelia region.

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Domtar helps create new model for responsible forest management with group FSC certification

Domtar helps create new model for responsible forest management with group FSC certification | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) today announced the culmination of a precedent-setting two-year partnership process that saw 55 landowners in the Texarkana area achieve Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) group certification. With the Ashdown Mill's strong support, the Four States Timberland Owners Association (FSTOA) was successful in receiving FSC Forest Management Certification on 70,000 acres of forestland.
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"We have raised the bar for private land certification in the south, and we look forward to seeing the model built in Ashdown being replicated and expanded on throughout our mill system," added Lewis Fix, Domtar's Vice-President of Pulp Sales and until recently, the company's Vice-President of Sustainable Business and Brand Management. "This is a perfect example of how our longstanding collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance continues to help us deliver on our promise of socially and environmentally responsible paper manufacturing."
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Rolling Stones keyboardist gets ‘satisfaction’ opposing green building program

Rolling Stones keyboardist gets ‘satisfaction’ opposing green building program | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

In a Mother Nature Network opinion editorial, Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell offered hearty praise for governors who have recently taken a stand for fairness in forest certification. Leavell, a Georgia resident, cited Peach State Gov. Nathan Deal’s recent executive order that future state building projects are required to “recognize all forest certifications equally” for inspiring the musician’s wonkish praise.

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The move spelled the end of Georgia’s adherence to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in regards to green building standards. LEED only recognizes one form of certification, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and is promoting monopoly in an area that should be ripe for domestic competition.

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Governor Deal’s executive order has now opened the doors to lands certified by standards “like Sustainable Forestry Initiative and American Tree Farm System” and will result in better utilization of resources native to Georgia.

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Forest Stewardship Council cuts ties with Austrian timber giant over illegal wood, EIA comments

Forest Stewardship Council cuts ties with Austrian timber giant over illegal wood, EIA comments | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) today announced its decision to immediately disassociate from the Austrian timber giant Holzindustrie Schweighofer (Schweighofer), one of its largest members, due to the company’s persistent and indiscriminate sourcing of illegal timber in Romania. The decision follows a year-long investigation by an FSC Expert Panel, which concluded that Schweighofer had created a business “culture” favoring cheap wood over legal wood in its Romanian sourcing.

The decision by the FSC’s Board of Directors reverses the Board’s decision in December to let Schweighofer continue using the FSC’s logo during a period of probation. Following that decision, EIA published results of a follow-up investigation that showed Schweighofer continuing to receive illegal wood. A broad spectrum of NGOs, including EIA, WWF, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth protested FSC’s decision to only put the company on probation. An online petition, calling for the FSC to disassociate from Schweighofer, garnered 250,000 signatories in Romania, Germany, and Austria. The Romanian group De-clic delivered the petitions to FSC’s headquarters in Bonn and urged the Board “to take the right decision and stop endorsing corruption in Romania and stop endorsing illegal logging.”

The FSC Panel’s year-long investigation produced a 110-page report in December 2016, concluding that Schweighofer had purchased illegal timber, sourced logs cut on land stolen from local communities, developed a bonus system that encourages illegal logging, and had an inadequate due diligence system to avoid illegal timber purchases. The Panel recommended that the FSC disassociate itself from Schweighofer until the company can meet a long list of conditions. Chief among these being that the company can trace all its log purchases back to the forest stand.

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FSC certification yields financial benefits for tropical forest businesses, shows new WWF repor

FSC certification yields financial benefits for tropical forest businesses, shows new WWF repor | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
A new WWF cost-benefit analysis of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on a cross-section of forest operators finds that tropical and small or medium producers, regardless of geography, can benefit significantly from attaining FSC certification.
 
The Profitability and Sustainability in Responsible Forestry: Economic impacts of FSC certification on forest operators report found that on average, the companies examined earned an extra US$1.80 for every cubic metre of FSC-certified roundwood or equivalent, over and above costs associated with certification. The Net Present Value (NPV) of the decision to pursue FSC was, on average, $6.69 per cubic metre of roundwood or equivalent – a strong positive business case overall for the decision to pursue FSC. 
 
These outcomes were achieved through price premiums, increased efficiency and other financial benefits. Results varied significantly by company size and geography. Tropical companies as well as small- and medium-size enterprises – regardless of geography – showed financial gains, while temperate and large producers were found to experience small losses. On average, it took the companies that were studied six years to break even on their investment in FSC.
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FSC Recertification of Harvard's Argentine Timberlands Doesn't Satisfy Activists

FSC Recertification of Harvard's Argentine Timberlands Doesn't Satisfy Activists | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Two Harvard-owned timberland plantations in Argentina that have attracted allegations of environmental and communal degradation have been reaffirmed with Forest Stewardship Council certification, which requires that the properties adhere to a comprehensive set of international principles regarding environmental, economic, and social impact.


The independent third-party Rainforest Alliance accredited the plantations, EVASA and Las Misiones, located in northern Argentina, on behalf of FSC.


The news comes as the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition, which co-authored a report criticizing the University’s timberland management practices in the region, hosts two Argentinian organizers to raise awareness of the issue on campus. On Sunday, those organizers called into question the rigor of the FSC certification and lodged additional complaints against Harvard Management Company.

“We've known that the plantations have technically been certified,” Blake A. McGhghy ’17, a student leader of Responsible Investment, said. “This is not new news. But it also does not change our campaign.”


Members of the student activist organization said that the FSC certification, which is voluntarily sought by an organization, is not sufficient in determining whether basic human rights and environmental practices are upheld. The certification audit also raised several new points of non-compliance, which must be remedied by at least the next year or HMC will lose its certification.

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Beware of a Forestry Standard Monopoly

Beware of a Forestry Standard Monopoly | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Forest certification programs establish responsible management practices and standards.  If landowners meet the standards of the program, then the forests are certified by that program, which communicates to consumers and businesses that timber products purchased from this landowner were harvested responsibly.


In the case of forestry management, the definition of “what is responsible” can vary.  And, balancing these conflicting interests is complex to say the least.  Due to this complexity, multiple forestry certification programs have arisen.  The existence of multiple programs allows forest owners and consumers to choose between the alternative costs and benefits based on their own values and constraints.  This competitive process creates a more efficient balancing of the intended and unintended consequences than a monopolistic standard that imposes a standard before a better accounting of the full consequences can be ascertained.


Despite the benefits from competition, some environmental activists favor one program (the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC) and are encouraging that this program be granted monopolistic authority.  A new EconoSTATS paper, authored by Brooks Mendell and Amanda Hamsley Lang (available here), illustrates the dangers from this proposal.


Mendell and Lang found that FSC certification overly restricts the amount of output that can be produced from the same amount of acreage compared to the other major certification programs – the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).   The reduced acreage available for timber harvests leads to smaller harvests of U.S-produced timber compared with the other certification programs. The reduced output leads to income losses that result in lost employment and lost tax revenues.


Direct jobs lost include foresters, loggers, millworkers, and forestry consultants and contractors. Indirect jobs lost include jobs that support the forest industry, such as motor freight transportation, machinery repair, and wholesale trade.  Indirect job impacts also include “induced” jobs created by the spending of workers in the forest industry.


According to Mendell and Lang, these impacts could be quite large if an FSC monopoly were implemented. 

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Verifying Forest Sustainability

Verifying Forest Sustainability | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Increased talk about the use of woody biomass for energy in the U.S. has many people wondering how best to assure that the fuel and feedstock used by wood energy firms is harvested sustainably. The forest products industry—sawmills and pulp mills, in particular—has been down this road for more than 15 years and many have turned to the major forest certification systems available in the U.S., namely the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Forest Stewardship Council and the American Tree Farm System. These systems may or may not be the best way to demonstrate the sustainability of feedstock harvesting for the woody biomass energy sector. In the end, your customers’ needs and your company values should drive what you do about forest sustainability.

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