Bonn, Germany – The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which promotes responsible forest management worldwide, has “disassociated” itself from Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), the council announced on 26 Oct.
The Bonn-based organisation said subsidiaries of the Vietnam group had been involved in “unacceptable activities” leading to the termination of all FSC certificates held by VRG.
The decision, which is to take effect in three months, was based on research by an "independent" complaints panel into activities at FSC-certified forest operations in Cambodia.
FSC alleged that the panel had discovered “illegal logging and trade in illegal wood and forest products; violation of traditional and human rights; destruction of high conservation values and significant conversion of forests to plantations or non-forest use.”
“The decision to disassociate from an FSC certificate holder is always difficult, but safeguarding the integrity and credibility of FSC must be our priority,” said Kim Carstensen, director general of FSC.
However, Carstensen added that the Vietnamese body had signalled an interest in discussing the issues with FSC.
In its statement, FSC said it had "defined a set of conditions that, if satisfactorily fulfilled, would be grounds for considering an end of the disassociation with VRG."