Largest forest concession in the Congo Basin receives FSC certification | WWF

Largest forest concession in the Congo Basin receives FSC certification



Posted on 19 January 2015
Low impact logging in the IFO concession in the Republic of Congo
© Daniel Tiveau/WWF Green Heart of Africa
The largest contiguous forest concession in the tropics is now certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Industrie Forestière d’Ouesso (IFO), which operates as a subsidiary of hardwood company Danzer in the Republic of Congo, received the Forest Management and Chain of Custody certificates at the end of 2014, following a successful independent evaluation.

The IFO concession covers 1.16 million hectares. This brings the total FSC-certified area in the Republic of Congo to 1.7 million hectares and to 4.8 million hectares in the entire Congo Basin.

IFO was one of the FSC certification pioneers in Central Africa, passing its first audit in 2009. It subsequently lost its certificate, not by direct fault but because FSC dissociated from IFO’s parent company Danzer, following allegations that another former subsidiary in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had infringed on the human and traditional rights of forest communities.

In order to be reinstated, Danzer worked with expert international organizations to strengthen its conflict management procedures and practices as per conditions stipulated by FSC. After it reassociated in August 2014, third party Rainforest Alliance evaluated IFO according to the FSC standards, assessing the environmental, social and economic aspects of its forest management.

“We recognize the great efforts Danzer has undertaken in order to improve and meet the high FSC standards,” said Daniel Tiveau, WWF’s Regional Forest Program Coordinator in the Congo Basin. “FSC remains the only available credible certification system in the Congo Basin, especially for countries with weak governance. It is also increasingly becoming a tool to improve forest management.”
 
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 IFO’s good example and get their operations FSC certified.

“This is a good way to show their buyers that they are serious producers,” said Tiveau. “The FSC certificate also reduces the amount of due diligence required of importers in Europe, who, under the European Timber Regulation (EUTR), have to show that they have done their utmost to ensure the wood is not illegal. We encourage buyers of wood to demand that it is FSC certified.”

The IFO concession is home to more than 5,000 people, of whom about 40% are indigenous, semi-nomadic.

Tiveau added that “well-managed forest concessions also provide important habitat for wildlife, such as forest elephants.” As the Congo Basin is a hotbed for poaching, WWF strongly urges IFO and other logging companies in the region to enforce strict anti-poaching rules."

For more information, contact Sinziana Demian, Communication Officer, WWF Green Heart of Africa, SMDemian@wwfcarpo.org
Low impact logging in the IFO concession in the Republic of Congo
© Daniel Tiveau/WWF Green Heart of Africa Enlarge
Right after felling, each log is gets a unique number that is important for wood traceability. IFO concession, Republic of Congo
© Daniel Tiveau/WWF Green Heart of Africa Enlarge
Workers in the IFO concession in the Republic of Congo take a break. A report by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) shows clear differences between FSC and non-FSC certified concessions in terms of workers' rights.
© Daniel Tiveau/WWF Green Heart of Africa Enlarge