Earthsight – a non-profit organisation dedicated to researching and investigating environmental and social injustice has published a report that shares the findings of its investigative work relating to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the certification of certain entities in Ukraine and Romania. The report was also given prime screen time on Channel 4 on Tuesday 23 June.
‘Flat-Packed Forests: IKEA’s Illegal Timber Problem and the flawed green label behind it’, highlighted a range of supply chain issues surrounding the furniture giant and many of its products using timber from the Ukrainian Carpathians. It also delivered a scathing view of forest certification bodies failing generally.
In response FSC issued a statement saying:
“FSC is fully aware of the difficult environment in Ukraine, where the country shows many of the problems typically prevalent in emerging economies. Issues such as corruption, law enforcement failures and social transformation difficulties are a substantial reason behind many forestry management problems in the country.
While FSC certification cannot replace government oversight and action against fraudulent activities, it can support such actions as shown by the termination of certificates from 29 organisations in Ukraine.
Whenever illicit acts by certificate holders are identified or reported, they are investigated, and if proven to be substantiated, the certificate is suspended or terminated. In extreme cases, the certificate holder is expelled completely from the FSC system.
To combat problems in the Ukrainian timber industry, FSC has adopted a holistic approach in which it implements a number of measures across three main areas of work:
1. The development and implementation of the Ukrainian Forest Stewardship Standard
2. Improving supply chain integrity
3. Engaging with key stakeholders in an open and transparent approach
In its most recent meeting in June 2020, FSC’s International Board of Directors agreed to adopt additional measures including normative changes proposed to provide FSC with additional options to act on supply chain integrity issues in Ukraine and other high-risk areas.
FSC will continue working in partnership with state institutions, NGOs, social groups, local communities, and businesses to address the root of the problems threatening the Ukrainian forests and together provide fertile ground for long term positive change.”