FSC-certified charcoal imports

We are aware that some concerns exist regarding the reliability of FSC certification in relation to charcoal products imported in to the UK.

According to WWF UK, the UK is the third largest importer of charcoal (by volume) from tropical and subtropical countries (after Germany and Belgium). The largest country in terms of volume supplying the UK in 2014 was Namibia.

FSC certification can be applied in a variety of forest contexts. FSC’s mission is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. FSC does not prohibit the harvesting of tropical forests. FSC certification can offer forest managers in the tropics financially competitive alternatives to poor practices, illegal logging, and land conversion for cattle ranching or biofuel production. It also helps to ensure that forest workers are treated fairly and provided with appropriate safety equipment.

FSC forest management certification standards are based on our Principles and Criteria for forest stewardship.

FSC is also committed to continuous improvement, collaboration and innovation – hence the introduction of transaction verification in the latest version of our chain of custody standard and its continuing development. FSC is aware that charcoal constitutes a particularly high-risk commodity and it is therefore included in our ongoing supply chain integrity project. Action has been taken against companies found to be in contravention of FSC’s standards and any further companies found in contravention will have their certificates suspended or terminated, as appropriate. Without certification there is little or no repercussion for companies found to be acting unsustainably.

Update: On 24th August 2018 FSC announced the suspension of Polish manufacturer of barbecue and fireplace products Dancoal Sp. Z.o.o from its certification scheme.

The decision follows an investigation by FSC and Accreditation Services International (ASI), which assesses performance of certification bodies accredited to FSC, following a report from WWF Germany about tropical timber in briquettes supposedly made from temperate European charcoal.

The suspension means that Dancoal will no longer be able to use the FSC trademarks or trade in FSC-certified products globally. The suspension will remain in force until Dancoal can demonstrate to FSC that it has identified the relevant issues in its processes, corrected them and provide sufficient assurance to both ASI and FSC that they will not be repeated.

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