Greenpeace International published a report on 27 September 2017 entitled “Wiping away the Boreal”.
The report criticises tissue and hygiene paper products producer Essity (formerly SCA Hygiene) for “failing to show leadership in the urgent fight to save the world’s boreal forests from destruction”.
Greenpeace’s campaign in the UK focuses on Velvet, a brand of toilet tissue owned by Essity. Essity’s fibre sourcing target requires that “all fresh wood fiber-based raw material in our products will be FSC or PEFC certified, or fulfill FSC’s standard for controlled wood”. However, Greenpeace believes that “only full FSC certification – if implemented correctly – provides adequate assurances that material derives from responsible forestry”.
The FSC Mix label
Velvet carries an FSC Mix label. The timber or fibre in an FSC Mix product is a mixture of some/all of the following:
• Virgin timber/fibre from an FSC certified forest
• Reclaimed/recycled timber/fibre
• Virgin timber/fibre from other controlled sources (Controlled Wood)
What is FSC Controlled Wood?
Controlled Wood is material which has been assessed using the relevant FSC standards and found to be at a low risk of coming from the following unacceptable sources:
• illegally harvested
• harvested in violation of traditional and human rights
• harvested in forests in which high conservation values are threatened by management activities
• harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use
• from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.
Find out more about the three FSC labels: FSC 100%, FSC Mix and FSC Recycled.
Strengthening the controlled wood system
FSC has been strengthening the controlled wood requirements, in a response to a system evaluation and concerns from stakeholders through an extensive revision that has involved numerous stakeholders. The new requirements have been put in place to further reassure consumers of responsible sourcing behind the FSC Mix label.
Among the enhanced standard requirements, FSC accredited certification bodies and organisations must involve concerned stakeholders (for example Indigenous Peoples) in consultations when implementing FSC’s controlled wood standard, unless FSC has established that the risk of sourcing unacceptable materials is low in a given area and for specific categories.
The revised standard also bans material coming from commercial logging in Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) unless FSC led national risk assessments determine other ways of avoiding threats to High Conservation Values.
Protecting the Boreal
FSC considers the protection of High Conservation Value areas of the boreal forests of Russia, Scandinavia and North America priority.
FSC certified companies that do not respect FSC’s policies as embodied in its standards are exposed to disciplinary actions from the certification bodies that carry out periodical audits to assess their operations. These actions, depending on the violation, range from corrective measures to immediate termination of certificates.
FSC is also committed to facilitating consistent and timely evaluation of complaints and appeals raised by stakeholders against decisions, performances or any other issues within the FSC scheme.
The FSC Dispute Resolution System supports stakeholders to express concerns they may have with the operation of the FSC system and to find the best way of resolving disputes.
Greenpeace and FSC
Despite Greenpeace’s concerns about the FSC Mix label, the environmental organisation continues to only endorse FSC as the best forest certification label to ensure responsible forest management. Greenpeace considers other forest certification schemes to lack the robust requirements that protect social and ecological values and recommends that both individuals and businesses “demand products from FSC certified forests and insist the product has an FSC label”.