Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


Environmentalists Release Report Warning of Bogus Forest Certification Schemes

March 26, 2003

(Vancouver, BC) – Environmental groups today released a report documenting the environmentally destructive forest practices endorsed by industry-backed certification schemes – Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Carrying a massive (20 lb.) rubber stamp with the message “Bogus Certification,” ForestEthics, Greenpeace Canada, and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter released a report titled On the Ground: Green Stamp of Approval or Rubber Stamp of Destruction? The report was released at an annual forest certification conference in Vancouver attended by logging industry representatives, environmental organizations and customers of North American forest products. The report warns it’s “buyers beware” when it comes to industry-touted certification schemes that claim environmental responsibility but deliver ecological destruction.

“The logging industry is making a mockery of forest certification by rubber stamping bad logging,” said Gavin Edwards, Greenpeace Canada Forest Campaigner. “We’re not falling for bogus certification and neither should the public.”

The report finds that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the only credible and environmentally responsible forest certification system in North America. The two other certification systems, CSA and SFI, certify environmentally destructive, status quo practices such as destruction of endangered species habitat.

Certification schemes have risen in profile as a response to controversy affecting endangered forest regions, such as British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Their purpose is to promote high standards of logging that protect environmental, social and long term economic values, and to ensure that wood entering the marketplace respects high conservation values.

“While the entire purpose of forest certification is to improve on-the-ground conditions, industry-endorsed certification systems are allowing business as usual,” said Lisa Matthaus, Forest Policy Analyst for the Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter.

The report finds that CSA and SFI standards allow expansion of tree farms, damage to drinking water, fisheries and streamside forests, and continued loss of natural forests. However, FSC certification-broadly supported by conservation groups-establishes standards that protect streams, conserve endangered forests and species habitat, and require the consent of aboriginal communities.

“This report demonstrates that customers can depend on only one forest certification system -and that’s FSC,” said Jim Ford, Director of Research and Policy for ForestEthics.