Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) certification dispute in Sweden : a case study involving the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget(SCA)

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: Deforestation and biodiversity loss have become an issue of international concern and all stakeholders of environmental protection are concerned in finding a lasting solution to this problem. One tool that has received a lot of attention among environmental non-governmental organizations is forest certification with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) being the frontrunner. In Sweden, majority of the industrial forestland holding is FSC certified and the state sees forest certification as an important tool in contributing to the realization of the government‟s environmental protection goals. Notwithstanding this, FSC certification has recently been criticized by some environmental non-governmental organizations as not being effective and efficient in ensuring responsible forestry practices and protection of biological diversity because of the violations of the FSC standard by forest companies among others.This study looked at FSC certification dispute in Sweden by focusing on a case study involving the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA). It was established that the main causes of this certification dispute in Sweden include unspecific nature of some criteria in the 1998 Swedish FSC forest management standard, non identification of all the woodland key habitats, time and frequency of SCA‟s logging operations and entrenchment to the core interests of the stakeholders. The study also analyzed how the FSC system responds to this dispute as enshrined in its policy document and also in reality. It was concluded that the systematic infringements of the FSC standards by forest companies cast doubts on the ability of forest certification in guaranteeing responsible forestry practices and safeguarding of biodiversity. The study called on the Swedish state to enhance its environmental protection tools through the adoption of broad based tools with broad based actors that are complementary and synergistic in effect to compensate for the lapses and failures of FSC certification in order to ensure optimal policy mix and protection of the environment.

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