Greenpeace withdraws FSC membership

29 March 2018

Greenpeace International has announced it will not renew its membership of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), having lost confidence that the certification body alone can guarantee forests sufficient protection.

In a statement, Matt Daggett, global campaign leader for Greenpeace’s forest campaign, said that when implemented effectively, FSC certification could protect people’s rights and improve forest management but it could not “consistently guarantee enough protection, especially when forests are facing multiple threats”.

“FSC is not consistently applied across regions, especially where there’s weak governance,” said Mr Daggett. Greenpeace described the certification scheme as a “tool for forestry and timber extraction” and said it was not doing enough to protect the world’s forests.

Greenpeace, which is a founding member of FSC, also called on the organisation and other certification schemes to improve their transparency.

“For a certification scheme to be considered credible in 2018, it must transparently publish the mapped boundaries of sourcing areas and assessment reports to allow external monitoring and input,” said Mr Daggett. He added that timber certification was a “helpful but insufficient tool” in saving forests.

“We’ve always asked companies to go above and beyond. We encourage companies to firstly reduce their use of virgin fibre and use recycled and responsible alternative fibre whenever they are available. When virgin wood fibre is required, we will encourage the use of 100% FSC, with additional due diligence,” he said.

Some Greenpeace offices that operate in countries with stronger governance will be allowed to maintain FSC membership.

In a statement on its website, FSC International said the decision moved individual organisations within Greenpeace away from working on the responsible management of natural forests.

“Forest protection cannot stand alone without responsible management to help protect and maintain the world’s forests,” FSC said.

It said it was “appreciative of Greenpeace International for its many contributions to enhance and improve our positive impact on sustainable management of the world’s forests”.