Complainant: Global Witness (GW)
Defendant: Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG)
Filed: 10 September 2014
Accepted: 24 September 2014
Country: Laos / Cambodia
Allegations: The complainant alleges that VRG’s rubber plantations have significant negative impacts on the environment and the livelihood of local communities in Laos and Cambodia.
|10 Sep 2014||Global Witness submits complaint against VRG|
|24 Sep 2014||FSC International accepts complaint|
|8 Dec 2014||Complaints Panel established|
|09 Jan 2015||Complaints Panel meeting #1|
|09 Jan 2015||Complaints Panel starts evaluation|
|15 Mar 2015||Complaints Panel meeting #2|
|16-21 Mar 2015||Complaints Panel field visit to Vietnam and Cambodia|
|9 Jun 2015||Complaints panel submits the Complaints Panel Evaluation Report, including the public version of the report. The panel recommends disassociation from VRG and all its subsidiaries|
|12 Jun 2015||Public version of the Complaints Panel Evaluation Report is shared with the parties to the complaint, together with the recommendation by the complaints panel|
|26 Jun, 20 Jul 2015||Parties submit a statement regarding their position in relation to the recommendation of the complaints panel|
|16 Jul 2015||The FSC Quality Assurance Unit produces a quality assessment report, assessing the quality of the Complaints Panel Evaluation Report|
|13 Aug 2015||FSC Board of Directors discusses the recommendation by the complaints panel|
|13 Aug 2015||FSC Board of Directors takes the final decision to disassociate from VRG, FSC Board of Directors also agrees on the set of conditions that if fulfilled by VRG will be grounds for considering an end to the disassociation|
|16 Sep 2015||FSC Director General, Kim Carstensen, together with other senior managers informs VRG about the final decision of disassociation|
|12 Oct 2015||FSC informs GW about the final decision of disassociation|
|26 Oct 2015||FSC disassociation from VRG is made public on FSC website|
Complaints Panel Evaluation Report
An independent complaints panel produced the Complaints Panel Evaluation Report. The FSC Board of Directors used this report, together with other analyses, as a basis for discussion and decision-making about this case. Please see its public version below.
Conditions to end disassociation
In order for FSC to consider an end to the disassociation, VRG should fulfill the following conditions:
- Stakeholders that were inadequately compensated for their losses are fully compensated at a rate determined by an arbitrator independent of both VRG and the Government of Cambodia. The rate shall take into account the long-term value of the losses of land or forest resources, such as resin trees.
- All concessions have carried through an environmental impact assessment conducted by a well-recognized and prestigious organization independent of VRG and the Government of Cambodia with the full participation of key stakeholders, including environmental and social NGOs active in the affected regions, to evaluate the negative environmental impacts of each concession and propose reasonable and fair compensation measures including but not limited to:
- The restoration of natural forest of significant and adequate size within or outside of the concessions to compensate for the overall conversion of natural forest;
- The restoration of a proportion of each concession to natural forest to address the unduly extension of rubber plantation areas into riparian zones and other ecologically sensitive areas due to earlier inadequate environmental impact assessments;
- Significant long-term contributions to the conservation of key biodiversity areas or protected areas negatively affected by the conversion activities.
- Based on the environmental impact assessment, all concessions are in the process of implementing a restoration plan covering the aspects identified in the assessment.
Additional Case Information
- Case summary
- FSC public statement
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - about the case
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - about policy for association complaints
- Public version of Complaints Panel Evaluation Report
- Processing Policy for Association Complaints in the FSC Certification Scheme' (FSC-PRO-01-009)
- Related reports: "The Rubber Barons” report by Global Witness