‘Destruction: Certified’

Certification schemes like FSC are ‘greenwashing forest destruction’

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

Home » ‘Destruction: Certified’

Published: 11 March 2021

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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Main image: Deforestation for Palm Oil by Bumitama in Indonesia, © Kemal Jufri / Greenpeace

Certified companies, including with the widely-known FSC label, are reportedly linked to forest destruction, land disputes and human rights abuses, warns a new report from Greenpeace International.

‘Destruction: Certified’ shows that many certification schemes used for products such as palm oil and soya for animal feed are, in fact, effectively greenwashing destruction of ecosystems and violations of Indigenous and labour rights.

The charity states that certification ‘fails to tackle the core issues they claim to address’.

‘Certification has failed’

Members of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) promised to have eliminated deforestation from their supply chains by 2020, using certification as one of the means to reach this goal.

It has become clear that CGF companies, such as Unilever heavily relying on RSPO, grossly failed to meet their zero-deforestation commitments.

While certification has grown globally, deforestation and forest degradation have continued.

‘After 3 decades of trying, certification has failed to prevent ecosystem destruction and rights abuses associated with key products such palm oil, soya and wood.
‘Due to certification’s limitations and weaknesses in implementation, it has a limited role to play in halting deforestation and protecting rights. It should certainly not be relied on to deliver change in these commodity sectors. Nor should it be used as proof of compliance with legislation.’

Senior campaign advisor, Greenpeace International

Governments ‘must step up’

The report makes up the balance after three decades of certification schemes and the failure to reach the 2020 deadline.

It draws on extensive literature review, certification schemes’ publicly available data and certification experts’ views to create a comprehensive critical review of the efficacy of certification schemes.

This is supplemented by an assessment of nine major certification schemes, including FSC, RTRS and RSPO. 

‘Protecting forests and human rights shouldn’t be a choice. However, certification pushes the responsibility to assess the quality of a certified product onto the consumer. Instead, governments must step up and protect our planet and its people from these unacceptable harms and therefore set rules that guarantee that no product produced and sold comes from ecosystem destruction or human rights abuses.’

Senior campaign advisor, Greenpeace International

Greenpeace is calling on governments to develop a comprehensive set of measures to address the issues in supply chains and the wider biodiversity and climate crises.

Advised measures include new legislation on production and consumption, and policies that enable the shift towards trade that favours people and planet, ecological agriculture and a consumption reduction, especially of meat and dairy.

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