Republic of Congo is among top 10 countries worldwide with largest FSC certified area
Most recent advances have been recorded in the Republic of Congo, which, as of this month, is among the top 10 countries with the largest FSC certified area in the world, at almost 2.5 million hectares. This follows the recent recertification of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), a subsidiary of Olam International, and brings the total FSC certified area in the Congo Basin to over 5.4 million hectares.
In a further development, FSC has decided to base their regional representation in Congo’s capital Brazzaville, and today the organization signed an important collaboration agreement with the Congolese Government.
“While we remain deeply concerned for the future of the Congo Basin forests, which are facing a multitude of severe threats, we welcome the latest developments regarding the FSC presence and impact in the region,” said Daniel Tiveau, WWF’s Forest Program Coordinator in the Congo Basin. “Because of its high environmental, social and economic standards for responsible forestry, FSC is currently the only credible certification system in the Congo Basin.”
Companies become FSC certified only following third party independent evaluations, which provide traders and customers with the guarantee that the wood has been sustainably sourced. It is not an easy process and some companies, including CIB, have seen their FSC certificates suspended in the past for failing to maintain the required standards for some of their operations. Companies are recertified only when they rectify these issues in compliance with the FSC standards. In the case of CIB, the suspension was partly due to the fact that the government had allocated commercial hunting rights inside the concession without complying with the wildlife management plan. However, the ministry in charge of forests took immediate action to resolve the issue when they became aware of the suspension, and it is important that they maintain this decision. FSC certification can thus be a tool to ensure best practices by both companies and governments.
FSC certified concessions currently represent about 10% of all logging concessions in the Congo Basin. WWF strongly encourages other companies in the region to follow the good practice promoted by CIB as well as Industrie Forestière d’Ouesso (IFO) a few months ago, and get their operations FSC certified. We also urge consumers to demand FSC certified wood, which is a way to ensure that forest workers and their families have decent working and living conditions, that local and indigenous people’s needs are respected, that companies practice appropriate wildlife management, and that .national laws are respected. WWF equally calls on FSC to maintain its current standards, which we consider appropriate, and to support companies wanting to improve their operations.
For more information, contact:
Sinziana Maria Demian, WWF Communications Officer, Regional Office for Africa, SMDemian@wwfcarpo.org