FSC certification moving ahead in Russia
Examples of recent developments include:
• Commitments to seek FSC certification in 2004 have been made by the companies Volga Pulp and Paper Mill, and one of Russia’s biggest logging companies, Cherepovetsles.
• The Austrian paper company Neusiedler has committed to seek FSC certification for 1.16 million hectares of forest in the Russian area of Komi. The aim of the company is to source 35 per cent of the timber for its daughter company Syktyvkar from FSC certified forests by 2005.
• Russia’s biggest sawmill, Novoeniseysky LPH, located in Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, is currently being audited to achieve FSC certification for part of its logging operations.
• Ilim Pulp, Russia’s largest pulp and paper company, announced that it will seek FSC certification in 2004 for its pulp and paper mills in the Archangelsk and Irkoutsk regions.
• The Archangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill has started FSC certification for one of its logging companies in Maloshuika Les.
• WWF is working with the companies Solombala LDK and Lesosibirsk LDK-1 to map and protect pristine forests in their respective leasing areas.
Forest certification is a system of forest inspection plus a means of tracking timber and paper through a "chain of custody" — following the raw material through to the finished product. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit organization whose objective is to ensure environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of forests. FSC provides a labelled system that guarantees that products with the FSC seal come from well-managed forests.
Illegal logging and forest crime is a big problem in Russia. For example, 20 per cent of Russian wood products exported to Denmark could be illegally harvested.
The Russian government loses very significant amounts of money due to illegal logging, and illegal logging threatens the Russian forests in general and the large primeval forests in Russia in particular. The main underlying causes to illegal logging in Russia are: imperfect legislation and forest policy; inadequate control with forestry operations; low wood processing capacity; the behaviour of large timber traders; and low standard of living and high unemployment in wood-producing areas.
Ilim Pulp, Archangelsk PPM, Volga PPM, and Solombala LDK are members of the Russian Association of Environmentally responsible companies — part of the WWF Global Forest and Trade Network .
For further information:
Communications Manager, WWF European Forest Programme
Tel: +43 676 83 488 217
Sources: WWF Russia January 2004; Neusiedler Pressemitteilung, 28. November 2003; Mitteilung WWF Österreich, 21. November 2003