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FSC mulls rule change to allow certification for recent deforesters

24 / 10 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

The certification organization Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) took a step toward allowing timber companies that have cut down forests since 1994 to apply for the organization’s stamp of approval. Since its inception 23 years ago, the FSC has refused to certify any company that has deforested areas in order to convert them to timber plantations. While the passage of Motion 7 at the General Assembly meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Oct. 13 does not change this, its approval by the organization’s membership – comprising private companies, individuals and conservation NGOs – indicates that the council’s requirements could change. Proponents argue that the measure would increase access to certification in developing economies. But some question how effective certification actually is and say that changing the cutoff date could increase the destruction of forests. A timber plantation in Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay. “I think it’s becoming more and more apparent for FSC that this 1994 rule is becoming like a blockage,” said Aditya Bayunanda of WWF Indonesia. “The FSC should be open to all.” Bayunanda proposed the motion, which allows discussions about changing this regulation to continue. In his view, a rule change would allow the participation of companies from developing countries, whose economies were just getting going around the time the FSC was created. “It wasn’t by design,” Bayunanda said in an interview. “It was just like that.” Allowing these companies to earn certification would require them to adhere to the FSC’s standards regarding biodiversity conservation and the protection of…

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