Norwegian wood scandal claims first victim

Producers' cooperative loses sustainable forest management certificate after report of violations

A first victim of the scandal surrounding environmental certificates for Norwegian timber and other wood products has been reported. A certificate awarded to forest owners' collective Viken Skog has been rescinded by classification and standards authority Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and with it the "environmental bonus" of NKr7 (euros 0.86) per cubic metre paid for timber by pulp and paper giant Norske Skog.

Last month, a national newspaper reported that certificates had been awarded despite serious violations of sustainable management principles, and that Norske Skog had been paying a premium for wood certified to come from "sustainably managed" forests that were nothing of the kind. (ENDS Daily 22 February).

Viken Skog was the first producer to be awarded a certificate after signing up to a 23-point agreement between the industry and environmentalists known as Living Forests. This is seeking endorsement under the Pan-European Forest Certification initiative.

Losing the certificate would cost the company "several million" krone a spokesman said. Viken Skog hopes to have the certificate returned by the end of May, once it has satisfied DNV that it is in compliance with the standards.

Follow Up:
DNV, tel: +47 67 57 99 00; Norske Skog, tel: +47 74 08 00; Viken Skog, tel: +47 32 10 30 00.

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