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Statement on the FSC certification of Swedwood Karelia

30 April 2012

11 March 2014
: The latest update on the FSC certification of Swedwood Karelia is available here.

Criticism has recently been raised against the FSC certification of Swedwood Karelia LLC in several media.  The concession managed by Swedwood Karelia is FSC certified by the Rainforest Alliance based on independent third-party auditing carried out by NEPCon.

NEPCon and the Rainforest Alliance would like to offer the following points of clarification:

1. Any FSC certification of forest operations in Russia needs to take place against the FSC-endorsed Russian FSC Forest Management standard. NEPCon’s FSC auditing of Swedwood Karelia LLC is carried out against this standard.

2. The Russian Forest Management certification standard has been developed by key Russian stakeholders, following FSC’s procedures that require balanced influence by environmental, social, and economic interests.

3. NEPCon has evaluated Swedwood Karelia LLC and found the management of the operation to be sufficiently in line with the applicable FSC requirements to warrant the re-issuance of the certificate after the operation had completed its first five-year cycle of certification.

4. The quality of NEPCon’s auditing services is frequently surveyed by FSC’s main quality control body, Accreditation Services International.

5. The key points of criticism raised in the media and the ensuing debate in the media are linked to two identical formal complaints submitted in October last year by two Swedish NGOs. Subsequently, NEPCon conducted an investigation including field visits and stakeholder consultations in order to uncover the basis for the claims made against Swedwood Karelia LLC; the investigation did not find any evidence of non-conformance. 

We encourage any stakeholder holding evidence that certified operations are violating certification requirements to file a complaint through the FSC Dispute Resolution System.

Why we support FSC
Several stakeholders are also questioning the FSC system as such. Whilst NEPCon and the Rainforest Alliance acknowledge that the FSC system is not perfect, we are firmly convinced that it is a good and effective instrument for addressing problems such as illegal logging, deforestation and degradation of forests. It can and should not stand alone, but complements other efforts to conserve natural and cultural heritage, such as designation and proper protection of strictly protected areas.

NEPCon is a non-profit organisation that works to support sustainable use of natural resources, and we have selected FSC auditing services as our core activity because we sincerely believe that FSC certification makes a major positive difference to the world’s forests. The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour. The FSC system constitutes a balanced, transparent and inclusive approach to defining, verifying and monitoring of responsible forest management.