Green warfare!

Greenpeace and Wilderness Society slam PEFC as ‘signing off forest destruction’

The war of words between paper certifications has escalated after FSC backers Greenpeace and The Wilderness Society published a scathing report calling PEFC ‘greenwash for bad forestry practices’.

The report ‘On the Ground 2011’ is a follow-up to a report published earlier this year, now with input from Victorian conservation group My Environment.

PEFC claimed the report was published ‘by a set of organisations who all have close links or vested interests in FSC’ — which is a commercial rival of PEFC.

The report’s author, Anna Jenkins, is a former director of FSC UK. On a local level, the FSC Australia board includes Sean Cadman from The Wilderness Society.

Greenpeace has apparently downplayed this connection by saying ‘neither FSC nor any of its employees had anything to do with the production of the report’, according to PEFC.

In a press release sent yesterday, the local arms of Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society and My Environment slammed PEFC and its Australian affiliate, AFS.

Reece Turner, forests campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said that ‘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’.

According to Warrick Jordan, national forest campaigner for The Wilderness Society: ‘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.

‘PEFC and AFS must fundamentally change their approach if they are to become anything other than greenwash for bad forestry practices’, added Jordan.

Sarah Rees, spokesperson for My Environment, said: ‘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’.

PEFC countered with its own statement, saying it ‘believes that collaboration beats confrontation every time’.

‘We take all criticism regarding our organisation very seriously and endeavour to cooperate fully with those who seek to understand or enquire of our work and achievements.

‘Any form of dialogue between stakeholders, however, must be held in an open, transparent and truthful manner, and be based on the best intentions in order to be constructive and bear fruit’, said PEFC.

AFS national secretary Richard Stanton told ProPrint that he believed there was another agenda behind the ‘On the Ground 2011’ report, but added ‘we don’t buy into commenting on FSC. We just focus on making sure our standard is as rigorous as possible.

‘We meet the standards set by Standards Australia. We focus on that. There isn’t a lot of value of getting into a slanging match with FSC’.

‘There is a lot of product that isn’t certified to either standard, and that should be the focus, not having an argument about the relatively small percentage that is certified’, added Stanton.

This article first appeared in the Aust/NZ edition of ProPrint

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