Greenpeace accuses FSC of 'certifying' the destruction of Russian forests

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Greenpeace released a report at the beginning of this month in which exposes the failure of the main forest certification system, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), to protect primary forests remaining in Russia, including legally protected areas. Greenpeace says that through forest certification, some forest companies are making destructive practices.

''As a founder of the FSC, Greenpeaces had hoped that this body will serve to reform the practices of the Russian forest industry'', says Miguel Angel Soto, Head of Forest Campaign Greenpeace Spain. ''Instead of supporting sustainable forest management and protection of intact forest landscapes, the FSC is providing forest certification to a forest management model similar to mining, including the destruction of the one of the largest non-fragmented primary forest in Europe, the Dvinsky forest,'' he added.

The Greenpeace report is the latest in a series of six case studies where the NGO is highlighting both good and bad examples of the FSC system. Dvinsky, a region formed by intact forest landscapes in the Arkhangelsk Region in northwest Russia, is being destroyed even though most of the forest concessions in the region are certified by the FSC. Dvinsky Forest, covering an area of just under one million hectares, contains high conservation values that FSC has committed to preserve, says Greenpeace.

Worldwide, Russia ranks second after Canada regarding FSC certified forests, with 38,5 million hectares. For Greenpeace, the leaders of this organization have focused more on increasing the surface of certified forests in this country without maintaining the rigor and credibility of the system, and thus damaging the trust FSC provides to consumers. FSC has become a serious threat to the last remaining intact forest landscapes in Russia, says Greenpeace.

''If the FSC can not enforce its own standards and provide clear criteria to safeguard the intact forest landscapes, the FSC label will become a whitewash, similar to fraudulent PEFC certifications. If FSC wants to save its credibility, it must act immediately to reverse this situation,'' Mr. Soto emphasizes.

The FSC will held its triennial General Assembly next September in Seville, where Greenpeace wants to persuade FSC to take steps in ensuring the protection of intact forest landscapes and prevent the forest destruction that is taking place in the Russian taiga.

The full report can be found here

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