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FSC statement on documentary
Friday, 19 October 2018
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) disputes the allegations made about our work in Arte documentary.
While we acknowledge that our work will always need improvement in some areas and have publicly owned up to such areas in the past, we oppose the presentation of a relationship between our organization and various controversial activities. Many of these allegations did not take into account contrasted research and reflect a distortion of isolated or unrelated incidents with no regard for context.
The film does not present the positive impacts that FSC-certified companies are having in any of the concerned countries. For example, it fails to show that Indigenous Peoples in the Congo Basin are given access to health services, schools and jobs through the work of FSC-certified concessions. It also ignores the fact that FSC requires the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the process towards certification. Indigenous Peoples are afforded respect and dignity through FSC’s process of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), which has clear guidelines that take into account traditional livelihoods and social and cultural way of living, so as to preserve it. FPIC must be affirmatively achieved prior to harvesting any area Indigenous Peoples live in.
FSC understands that the issue of plantations in Brazil can be controversial and sometimes there are contentions rooted in deep social and historical problems that fall outside FSC’s area of competence. The fact is that no FSC-certified plantations are on land that has been converted from natural forests since 1994. They were either converted earlier or have been established on already degraded land.
As an organization committed to protecting forests and the people that live and work in them, we vehemently oppose violence in any form, including a disregard for human rights and life. Any violations of these rights carried out by FSC certificate holders result in stringent action taken against them.
FSC cannot be held accountable as the only solution for the preservation of the world’s forests as the film intends to do. We have never pretended to be that. We recognize the importance that multiple parties have in this task and have always engaged with national and supra-national authorities as elements of a solution. In addition, we have joined the voices of environmental and social NGOs to call on governments, businesses and civil society to work with us to tackle deforestation.
FSC was established in recognition of the fact that forests needed protection through reasonable, science-based forest management solutions. These solutions take into account environmental and social needs. Independent research shows that our work over these years has had more overall positive impacts despite what the film tries to portray, and violations are dealt with but are also exceptions in our system.
We welcome all interested to read more about how FSC has been tackling the challenges that affect forests and its people; and learn more about the positive impact that FSC has had on the world’s forests.
For more information, please refer to FSC Fact Checks on Documentary.
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