Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nearly one million hectares of Great Bear Rainforest now FSC certified

On December 10th, forest companies operating in the world's largest intact tract of coastal temperate rainforest took the next step in gaining marketplace recognition for their products. Western Forest Products, Interfor and BC Timber Sales, supported by pulp and paper producers Catalyst Paper and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper (partly owned by Canfor) have gained Forest Stewardship Council Certification (FSC). They are already signatories to the internationally renowned Great Bear Rainforest Agreement in British Columbia, Canada.

Building on the legal protection of a third of the region and critical first steps towards implementing Ecosystem-based Management across the land-base, a portion of operations for these companies now have the stamp of approval from FSC. FSC is the only forest certification system currently endorsed by environmental and indigenous organizations.

Full implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements is expected by 2014.


PaperLine said...

I would like to comment on this
Papyrus is making FSC look like the best thing that happen in the world well I beg the differ
why don't the readers from this site go to the following web sit called FSC-WATCH.ORG and really see what our European friends think of FSC. In Canada their is a better certification Body called SFI but somehow its under the radar maybe because its not controled by any of the North American Mills, also i would like to leave you with this note:

We may be settling into 2010, but one unresolved legal development in 2009 could have a broad impact on the future of the green building industry. On October 20, 2009, the Coalition for Fair Forest Certification ("the Coalition") filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging anti-competitive behaviour by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC):
"[T]he Coalition asks that the FTC investigate through the Bureau of Consumer Protection the deceptive and unfair trade practices arising out of FSC’s forest certification standards; investigate through the Bureau of Competition concerns about anticompetitive activities and monopolization arising out of USGBC’s LEED rating system and preference for FSC-certified products; and provide guidance to standard-setting organizations concerning behavioral standards for compliance with antitrust law."
My law firm represents many of the forest product companies involved in this complaint (another law firm submitted the letter), so I will not be discussing the allegations made against the FSC. Nor will I debate the merits of one wood certification versus another. But I will continue to keep you updated on the status of this complaint and I will be discussing allegations made against the USGBC and the potential impact of these allegations on green building regulations.
"Under the LEED system, points can be awarded in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation & design process. Credit 7 under the materials & resources category addresses the issue of certified wood, with the intent of encouraging environmentally responsible forest management. The requirements for the credit are:

'Use a minimum of 50% (based on cost) of wood-based materials and products, certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s Principles and Criteria, for wood building components including, but not limited to, structural framing and general dimensional framing, flooring, finishes, furnishings, and non-rented temporary construction applications such as bracing, concrete form work and pedestrian barriers.'"
According to the Coalition’s complaint, forest product companies that do not supply FSC-certified wood can not contribute to LEED materials & resources Credit 7: "[T]he three standards most widely adopted by forest owners in the U.S. and Canada - SFI, the Canadian Standards Association ("CSA") Sustainable Forest Management Standard, and the American Tree Farm System - receive no points under LEED, creating a substantial disadvantage for American-sourced wood products."

Among other actions, the Coalition has asked the FTC's Bureau of Competition to investigate the USGBC’s preference for FSC-certified wood:
"The Coalition also believes that the exclusionary actions of USGBC and its exclusive endorsement of FSC-certified products . . . warrants investigation by the Bureau of Competition concerning issues of possible monopolization, attempt to monopolize and conspiracy to monopolize the fast-growing certification marketplace. In examining the issue, the Coalition invites the FTC to use USGBC as a case in point to provide specific guidance to USGBC and other standard setting organizations."
It’s this last sentence that has really caught my attention.

How do you think the FTC should respond to the Coalition's complaint?

Papyrus said...

This is obviously a complicated legal issue and I personally will not tell the FTC how to respond, as I am not a lawyer.

There is a factual error in your comments above. SFI is not under the radar and in fact was begun by the North American paper companies to promote what they were already doing as "green." It has since evolved some, changed its governance, and improved some of its standards, it is true. But there is a clear difference between the credibility, the engagement of conservation groups and local communities and the rigorousness of the standards of FSC and SFI. I suggest further reading at http://credibleforestcertification.org/

And of course FSC is not perfect and there are legitimate concerns voiced on the website you reference.

I am confused by the above comment, and whether the text following "this note:" is authored by PaperLine or by somebody else. It seems to have much, much better grammar and spelling than the earlier text, so seems like it is quoted from another source. What is the source?

PaperLine said...

Indeed all that information was passed to me,however my grammar might not be perfect but doesn't mean that my opinion is not as valid.
I am very concerned about the way FSC is bulling the others certification and their credibility,if they are as good ad they say, why are they strong only in North America but this is not about FSC

I just feel that you have a strong opinion agains't a few mills and they way that they run and personaly didn't like the way that you go agains't some mills from china, that is why i felt the need to blog and try to make my point across also.