Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) says it is close to achieving Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for its Kabo concession in the Republic of Congo after a full FSC assessment by SGS Qualifor.

The assessment resulted in two major corrective action requests (CARs) and 20 minor ones, which CIB must implement before achieving what would be the first FSC certificate awarded in Central Africa.

The major CARs relate to the need for Congo’s authorities to approve CIB’s forest management plan (Principle 7) and a requirement for permanent and formal communication and negotiation processes (Principle 3, Indigenous People).

CIB believes it can meet the Principle 3 requirements by mid-December, although the company expects it may take longer for the government’s approval, as the forest management plan is the first of its kind in the country.

Robert Hunink, chief executive of CIB’s parent company tt Timber, said: “Our team is confident to have the Kabo concession FSC certified by the end of the year or early 2006. CIB’s timetable to have its entire 1.3. million ha FSC certified towards the end of next year also still stands.”

Scott Poynton, the Tropical Forest Trust‘s executive director, said: “This certification, when it happens, will stand up to any scrutiny and any criticism that anyone wants to throw at it. The outcome of this audit proves that FSC certification is indeed achievable in Central Africa.”