FSC eco-certification was established 25 years ago to stop the deforestation of primeval forests by attesting that products are made from “environmentally-friendly” wood. But does the FSC really prevent illegal deforestation?
Primeval forests are shrinking at an increasing rate. Is exploitation of the well-intentioned FSC system failing to prevent illegal deforestation and thus deceiving consumers? The jungles of Cambodia have been all but destroyed since 2000, and now just 25 square kilometers remain. Deforestation is responsible for more CO2 emissions than all the world’s cars and trucks put together. The Bonn-based Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is responsible for the certification of sustainable forestry worldwide and its certification is considered to be the most important eco-label. It is supposed to help consumers to identify furniture, paper, planks and other goods made from “environmentally friendly” timber. The FSC has certified the management of more than 200 million hectares of forest to date – an area about the size of Western Europe. But what has the FSC achieved in 25 years? Manfred Ladwig and Thomas Reutter spent months filming deforestation around the world and discovered that companies accused of processing illegal timber do not necessarily lose their FSC certification and even a company condemned for illegal logging in the Brazilian rainforest can continue to use it. The film investigates the connections between the FSC, illegal deforestation and the displacement of indigenous peoples and throws an unsparing light on the global timber industry.
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