September 23, 2014

Tetra Pak, Ikea and Kingfisher initiative to evaluate the impact of FSC forest certification

Acréscimo welcomes the announcement by Tetra Pak, Ikea and Kingfisher regarding the group initiative to evaluate and clarify the role of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) on forest certification.

For a year, Acréscimo has been requesting to go through technical visits on places where industrial wastes have been disposed on certified forests soils, managed by pulp and paper companies. This has not been authorized yet.

Although being in Portugal for over a decade, the evidence of of the waste disposal motorization in certified forests has not been part of the agenda in the Audits performed under the FSC  schemes.

In addition to the environmental impacts associated with this practice, the consequences of industrial waste application on forest soils can contribute harmful for public health.

Despite of the customers’ benefits of purchasing products from certified forest, the main question is that FSC has not given assurances regarding the monitoring of potential impacts associated with the application of waste on the forests it certifies, especially on forests managed or owned by industrial groups who also produces such waste.

FSC expresses great weakness in its performance in Portugal. This attitude generates strong doubts about its commitment regarding the goals and standards that the system itself has defined. It should be noted that these industry groups represent more than 70% of forests certified by the FSC system in Portugal. Will there be here any “protection” to its customers?

Even being in Portugal for many years, only recently - after the intervention of Acréscimo - FSC Portugal claimed it has initiate the motorization of waste application on certified forests. However, this unique action is clearly insufficient. The issue, in accordance with the FSC International, requires continuous monitoring applications, right from the moment FSC certifies the entities (2007) that practice application of residues on soils under their management.

To be consistent with the objectives and guarantees that it claims to support before the Society, FSC must ensure the existence of instruments for continuous monitoring certified forest areas, subject of to the application of municipal and industrial waste. Its actions must be supported by scientific knowledge produced by independent entities, based on national ecosystems. That does not happen today.

With the announced increase of industrial capacity in paper industry in Portugal, the pressure on FSC is definitely assured.

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