NGOs hammer Finnish forest certification

PEFC-affiliated scheme "failing to stop old-growth logging, change management practices"

Finnish environmental groups have launched a new assault on a national forestry certification scheme, arguing that it is doing little to protect the environment. According to a report from Greenpeace Nordic and the Finnish Nature League, the Finnish forest certification system (FFCS) has failed to stop logging in areas of high conservation value and has not significantly changed forest management practices.

The NGOs' report marks a further escalation in an ongoing battle between the industry-inspired pan-European forest certification (PEFC) scheme, to which the FFCS is affiliated, and the global Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is backed by environmental groups. It is published on a website called "PEFCwatch," operated by the groups.

Environmental groups have consistently opposed the PEFC, accusing it of promoting lower standards than the FSC and of failing to achieve broad stakeholder involvement (ENDS Daily 18 April 2000). NGOs are now targeting the FFCS because it is the most advanced PEFC-affiliated scheme and recently started delivering PEFC-labelled timber products to the market (ENDS Daily 4 January).

The two Finnish NGOs say their report sets out to "inform customers of the Finnish forest industry as well as consumers about the ecological sustainability of FFCS/PEFC certification". They conclude that it isn't.

Based on a survey in four "forestry centres" in the north and east of the country, the groups claim to have found 55 cases of already logged areas or areas with current logging plans "that clearly did not take into account...biological, social or cultural value[s]". "It is obvious that a more thorough study would have revealed an even grimmer reality," they comment.

Follow Up:
Finnish Nature League, tel: +358 50 582 1107; Greenpeace Finland, tel: +358 9 698 6317. See also PEFCwatch, and the report: Anything Goes? {Report on PEFC-Certified Finnish Forestry}.

Please sign in to access this article. To subscribe, view our subscription options, or take out a free trial.

Please enter your details

Forgotten password?

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Not a subscriber?

Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.