Australia: FSC Certified Smartwood is corruptible unaccountable eco-damaging dumbwood

The reputation of FSC in Australia has been dealt another nasty blow with Smartwood’s 2008 audit of Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP). It appears that Smartwood has chosen to ignore recommendations made by Accredited Services International (ASI) in August 2007 and has instead rehashed company biased propaganda.

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(Photo of FSC certified Forest )
The following quotes from the 2007 ASI audit are telling.

Page 19: “ASI auditor has serious concerns about the SW decision to
maintain certification even if after two years of certification (and 4
years of the main assessment) the company still has several Major

Page 20: “ASI considers that the results from this ASI audit, as well
as results from ASI 2006 office audit for SW, identifies substantial
systematic deficiency in SW decision making system for issuing and
maintaining certificates…”

(Photo of FSC certified Forest )
In the conclusion ASI wrote: “ASI auditor detected that, … one of
the major problems is that SW issued CARs that do not adequately
address the identified non-compliances. Many of these CARs were
extended and/ or closed despite the lack of compliance instead of
being upgraded, or other disciplinary measures be proposed against the
certificate holder. Another major issue is that SW issued a
certificate to a company that did not demonstrate full compliance with
FSC certification requirements thus encouraging a continuous
improvement approach instead of a performance based certification.

This seems to be the root-cause for many problems, including high
visibility of the HVP certificate. This is a major threat to the
credibility of the SW certification system and subsequently to FSC if
not corrected.” It has now been two years since ASI visited Victoria.
Hancock’s performance has seriously deteriorated in that time with the
company now clearfelling areas supposedly set aside in a rainforest
reserve in October 2006. It has been business as usual showing that
the FSC system can be undermined by unethical certified companies,
with both Smartwood and ASI unable to pull Hancock and their
destructive practices into line.

The situation in the Strzelecki Ranges is now desperate with locals exasperated with both Hancock and Smartwood. Groups monitoring Hancock now know that FSC cannot (will not) withstand often dishonorable tactics employed by the timber industry (who also control auditors’ purse strings). It is now crunch time for Strzelecki Rainforest and Strzelecki Koalas. FSC Australia stands mute and totally ineffectual, fearing that the loss of Hancock from the FSC system will mean the loss of all FSC certified sawlogs in Australia. In short, the Strzeleckis is being ‘sold out’ by all parties.

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