This is what you are allowed to do as a FSC-certified forest company without noticeable consequences. By Stora Enso, logged forest and deep wheel tracks in the soil. Photo: Olli Manninen/Protect the Forest 2009.
Sweden’s largest environmental organization Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) has resigned from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Sweden. FSC is an international eco-labelling of paper and wood products. The decision is welcomed by the Swedish conservation organization Protect the Forest. FSC is criticized as loggings conducted by forest companies do not adequately comply with its rules, at the same time as sanctions are lacking and basic requirements are too low. Now Protect the Forest urges consumers to put pressure on the Swedish forest companies.

”SSNC’s resignation indicates that the credibility of the FSC certification, as a warranty for products from sustainable forest management, is not valid any more,” said Viktor Säfve, Chairperson of Protect the Forest. “Year after year, we have seen forest companies violate the environmental criteria of the FSC standard by, for instance, logging old-growth forests, felling trees with high biodiversity values, creating deep wheel tracks in the soil and running over watercourses. Despite this, there are no sanctions for the companies involved.”

Similar figures are confirmed by the Swedish Forest Agency, which, in its survey of the forestry, estimates that 28 percent of the fellings in Sweden do not live up to the minimum requirements of Swedish Forestry Act regarding environmental consideration. Protect the Forest also criticizes the FSC because it allows fertilization, large clear-cuts, soil scarification, cleaning of ditches, exotic tree species and pesticides. The system is also based on voluntary protection; too few percent of the forest land is protected. More is needed in order to safeguard the biodiversity, and there are no regulations regarding the quality and long-term safeguard of the voluntarily protected areas.

“Today, Stora Enso’s strongly criticized eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, IKEA’s old-growth forest loggings in Russia and SCA’s and Holmen´s old-growth forest loggings in Sweden are FSC-certified,” said Viktor Säfve, Chairperson of Protect the Forest. “We have actively chosen not to support the FSC since we mean that the system does not work.

“In order to change this situation, customers of Swedish FSC-certified paper and wood products need to urge the Swedish forest companies SCA, Bergvik, Stora Enso, Holmen Skog and Swedwood (IKEA) to immediately stop logging old-growth forests and to use truly sustainable forest management methods,” added Amanda Tas, Forest Coordinator, Protect the Forest. “If no improvements occur, we call for a boycott of Swedish FSC-certified forest products. No more old-growth forests should be felled in the name of FSC.”

Contact person:

Viktor Säfve, Chairperson, Protect the Forest, +46 (0)76 1148811,
Amanda Tas, Forest Coordinator, Protect the Forest,