The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has decided to revoke the Schweighofer Group’s probation status and disassociate from the group.
This decision was taken by FSC’s International Board of Directors after additional information about possible violation of timber measurement standards, which will require further investigation to determine scope and impact, was brought to the board’s attention. FSC considers that initiating an additional investigation is not compatible with maintaining the probation status of the company.
FSC standard under pressure
The board also considered that these allegations, if confirmed, could carry an increased risk that products not complying with FSC standards and policies might be traded through supply chains under a prolonged probation status, a situation that is considered unacceptable for the organization.
Holzindustrie Schweighofer Group, with whom European Wilderness Society met for an open dialogue, has informed FSC that it accepts the decision and recognizes it as an effective signal to meet stakeholder expectations and encourage their engagement and has consequently decided to terminate its certificates with immediate effect as a way of demonstrating its acceptance and commitment to the FSC Policy for Association.
Holzindustrie Schweighofer on the FSC disassociation decision:
”Although exercising legally required due care, we agree that we are operating in a high risk environment, reason why we should have had a much more robust due diligence system in place and that it is important to avoid excessive reliance on formalistic control of our suppliers. We will continue to roll out our action plan for sustainable timber processing in Romania”
Frank Aigner, Managing Director of the Schweighofer Group.
Challenges in Romania
Depending on the outcome of Schweighofer’s progress, the FSC Board of Directors could consider a gradual approach to reassociation for the group’s mills outside of Romania.
“FSC will begin to build a permanent presence in Romania to effectively engage with its members and stakeholders to secure the right mechanisms … to identify long term solutions to the challenges of responsible forest management in the country. To this effect it will engage in a constructive dialogue with the Schweighofer Group and all relevant stakeholders in the country,”
says Kim Carstensen, FSC Director General.
Tip of the iceberg
Max A E Rossberg, Chairman European Wilderness Society, comments:
“It is important to recognize that the problem is much larger than just Holzindustrie Schweighofer. As we have shown, currently even Virgin Forest can be legally logged. We demand, that ALL actors in the Romanian Logging Industry are being scrutinized including the State Forest Organization Romsilva. In addition, the legislation must be analysed and improved to prevent the legal and illegal deforestation of Romania.”
Change of policy?
Read more on the interview that European Wilderness Society held with Schweighofer Group more than one and a half year later.
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