Finnish foresters launch alternative to FSC

Industry predicts rapid certification uptake; WWF Finland continues to back FSC scheme

The Finnish forestry industry yesterday launched a certification system for sustainable forest management. The Finish Forest Certification System (FFCS), has been developed over two years as an alternative to the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme. It is also being seen as a model for a pan-European alternative to the FSC scheme being developed by Finnish, Austrian, German and Norwegian forest industry associations (ENDS Daily 27 August). Under the FFCS, Finland's 400,000 private owners will be able to take part in regional certification, loosely based around the existing so-called forest unions and forest centres. Over 10,000 hectares have already been certified during tests carried out last year, according to Hannu Valtanen of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF). Mr Valtanen told ENDS Daily he was optimistic that the scheme would progress quickly. "Most forest owners are now very willing to be certified," he said. The FFIF claims that its certification system is just as rigorous as the FSC. However, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which backs the FSC scheme, disagrees. WWF Finland said it would continue to push to get FSC certification taken up in Finland. Meanwhile, the FSC announced today that an FSC certification standard for Great Britain has been endorsed by the organisation's secretariat in Mexico after three-and-a-half years' preparation.

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