MyEnvironment Inc / Work / Forests / Forest Resources / A Report on the Global Failure of the PEFC Forestry Standard

On The Ground 2011 - The controversies of PEFC and SFI

Report from ENGO's on PEFC and the Australian Forestry Standard

International Report Reveals Global Failure of PEFC Forest Certification Standard 

Today, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, The Wilderness Society and My Environment have released an international report detailing repeated failures of the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) forest certification standard. The report is being released globally today. 
The report, On the Ground 2011, is a joint project between NGOs in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It uses case studies from the US, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Europe and Malaysia to show that PEFC certified products are being sourced from areas where high value forests are being destroyed and human and community rights are being abused. The PEFC stamp and its Australian affiliate AFS is displayed on a wide range of forest products sold in Australia from toilet paper to timber flooring. 

An Australian supplement to the report by Victorian conservation group My Environment also details problems with the ongoing certification of Australian Paper, maker of Reflex paper, under the local PEFC standard the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS). 

“Forest certification is supposed to provide assurance to consumers that the products they are buying are sourced from responsibly managed forests,” said Reece Turner, Forests Campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. 

“But as this report shows, behind the green-looking label, the PEFC in many cases signs-off on the destruction of tropical rainforests in places like Chile, Borneo and Indonesia and ignores the concerns and complaints of indigenous and environment organisations.” 

Certification standards rely on credibility in the market place. It is increasingly clear that the PEFC and AFS logos cannot be trusted by consumers to deliver high environmental and social standards for forest products,” said Warrick Jordan, National Forest Campaigner for The Wilderness Society. 

“PEFC and AFS must fundamentally change their approach if they are to become anything other than greenwash for bad forestry practices. If consumers are given the choice, they will choose highly credible certification standards such as the Forest Stewardship Council every time over untrustworthy schemes such as AFS.” 

“The PEFC standard is greenwashing bad forestry practices all over the globe, from the tropical forests of Indonesia to the majestic ash forests of Victoria’s Central Highlands,” said Sarah Rees, spokesperson for My Environment. 

“In Victoria Australian Paper continues to produce its Reflex paper brand from wood from core habitat of the endangered leadbeater’s possum, and AFS and PEFC have failed to address community complaints on logging and consultation (see attached supplementary report). Our experience is that these standards are not responding to legitimate community concern over destructive logging practices.” 

Key conclusions of On the Ground 2011 of the report: 

This report details 21 case studies and examples of issues from around the world which are causing concern about the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC). 

The cases demonstrate the failure of PEFC to deliver on promises made in a number of areas, focusing on the following key issues: 

• Whether the system allows conversion of natural forests to other uses, and especially the 

degradation of natural forests with high biodiversity and high carbon storage values, to low 

biodiversity forests with low carbon storage values, plantations or development. 

• Whether the system protects critical forest ecological values and endangered forests.Key in this regard is whether there is adequate protection for the habitats of endangered and threatened 

species, and for special, rare or disappearing ecosystems. 

• Whether local communities or indigenous peoples’ rights are respected

On the Ground 2011 concludes that the principal drivers for PEFC’s current weaknesses include weak 

standards, weak governance, poor or non-existent stakeholder consultation, a lack of transparency, an 

inadequate dispute resolution system and audit practices that cannot meet the expectations of a system for ensuring practices on the ground meet even the current weak standards. 

The report acknowledges recent changes to PEFC standards but highlights where change is still needed. It challenges PEFC to ensure that there is real improvement made on the ground. 

The coalition of NGOs who researched On the Ground included Climate for Ideas (United Kingdom), Forests of the World (Denmark), Dogwood Alliance (United States), Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic), Greenpeace, Sierra Club of British Columbia, and Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.