The Irish environmental NGO Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] and the UK Friends of the Earth [FoE] have withdrawn their support for the forestry certification schemes run by the international Forestry Stewardship Council [FSC].

FIE and FoE UK say they ‘can not support a scheme which fails to guarantee high environmental and social standards.'

Ireland's leading timber producer, Coillte Teo, was certified in 2001 by FSC International but FIE says the company's specific legal requirement under the 1989 Forestry Act to place economic considerations above environmental and social requirements mean that they can not meet basic environmental and social standards.

A spokesman for FIE said ‘it is important that the public have confidence in green labels. It's the job of environmental organisations to speak out when they see them being abused'.

FIE certification pages

FoE UK certification pages

 


PRESS RELEASE 24 SEPTEMBER 2008

SUPPORT WITHDRAWN FROM FORESTRY CERTIFICATION SCHEME

The Irish environmental NGO Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] and the UK Friends of the Earth [FoE] have withdrawn their support for the forestry certification schemes run by the international Forestry Stewardship Council [FSC].

FIE says that like FoE UK, they ‘can not support a scheme which fails to guarantee high environmental and social standards.'

FoE UK is the first major NGO to confirm they no longer support FSC which has become increasingly controversial in many countries. FIE was one of 5 Irish environmental panel members of the international organisation. The others are the statutory Heritage Council and the NGOs An Taisce, Just Forests, and Voice.

The scheme ensures that the timber purchased by the consumer has been grown in an environmentally sustainable manner.

FoE UK says that an increasing number of FSC certifications schemes are now controversial and that there are ‘wide spread questions about their credibility' in many countries.

Ireland's leading timber producer, Coillte Teo, was certified in 2001 by FSC International but FIE says the company's specific legal requirement under the 1989 Forestry Act to place economicl considerations above environmental and social requirements mean that they can not meet basic environmental and social standards.

FIE says that it has filed formal complaints from 2003 - 2008 to the international certification body and met with its auditors but has had no satisfactory response. FIE was also a member of the Steering Committee of the Irish Forestry Certification Initiative which has been unable to agree an Irish Standard for certification since its establishment in 1999.

A spokesman for FIE said ‘it is important that the public have confidence in green labels. It's the job of environmental organisations to speak out when they see them being abused'.

‘We must end industrial plantation forestry on our fragile habitats, particularly peat soils and uplands. Irish forestry must follow international best practices it if is to be certified ‘green'.

Verification and further information: Tony Lowes 027 73131 / 087 2176316

Friends of the Earth UK
http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/faqs/sustainable_timber_fsc.html

Friends of the Irish Environment forestry certification information
http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/forestry/certification/forestry_certification.htm

 

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