World Rainforest Movement

From Spain, a request to urgently cancel an Ence subsidiary’s certification

On 23 June 2005, the Association for the Defence of the Galician river mouth (Asociación pola defensa da Ria de Galicia) sent a letter to the FSC delegation in Spain, requesting “the urgent cancellation of sustainable forest management certification granted to NORFOR, given the serious deficiencies in the certification report and the clear inadequacy of NORFOR’s management system with respect to FSC principles and criteria.”

The NORFOR company is a subsidiary branch of the Spanish pulp and paper company Ence, certified in April 2005.

The letter was accompanied by a detailed 85-page report. As stated in the letter sent to FSC, according to this report and in view of the analysis made of the process, the enquiries and contacts with people and members of the sectors involved in forestry activities and environmental defence and from the analysis of press reports and other publications, it is evident that the NORFOR company is basically involved in monoculture eucalyptus plantations and it is clear that a good number of the principles and criteria established by FSC are not being fulfilled.

It is also affirmed that the basic objective of this company is to obtain a maximum production of biomass in the form of wood fibre, at the lowest cost, even though this implies severe environmental damage and impoverishment of the forestry sector and rural economy, as shown in the report.

The letter also requests that the report prepared by the Association for the defence of the Galician river mouth be sent to the FSC central body, with a request to proceed to a revision by independent people or bodies of the other certification processes carried out by SGS around the world, in order to determine whether irregularities and deficiencies of the magnitude of those appearing in the NORFOR certification report exist.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has launched a “Plantation Certification Review” process, that in some ways has implied recognition of the fact that with the certification of plantations the fundamental goal announced by FSC of promoting environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests” is not being achieved (See details in WRM Bulletin No. 86).

As the WRM stated at the meeting that launched this revision process, we are happy that “in this process, participation is given to those who have a critical vision and who oppose the expansion of large scale monoculture tree plantations.”

However, we regret that while this process is taking place, the FSC did not agree to our request for a moratorium on new certifications of plantations. We said then that if FSC recognises that there are problems in this respect, the temporary moratorium on certification would be the most sensible option. If this had been done, certifications such as that of the NORFOR Company would have never taken place.

We sincerely hope that the revision will result in changes such that in the future it will neither allow large-scale monoculture tree plantations, nor companies such as NORFOR to be certified ever again.

Article based on the letter of the Association for the Defence of the Galician River Mouth.
See letter at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/actores/FSC/cancelacionNORFOR.pdf
See complete report at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/actores/FSC/informeNORFOR.pdf

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