The certification of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which through a major crisis in Canada, is now missing from the territory of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, which combines the largest boreal forest under management in Quebec.
The loss of field of this standard is accelerating in Quebec since the lumber producer Arbec refused to pay $ 250,000 to the Innu of Betsiamites, who immediately withdrew their prior, free and informed forest operations on a management unit of one million hectares.
The SAI Global certification firm has therefore changed the status of the FSC certificate, the respondent was Peribonka sawmill Ascension, owned Arbec. As part of the renewal audit of the certificate, the company had to make a major correction to its practices by obtaining the consent of the Indians Betsiamites. The certificate had been suspended as provided for in the procedure for a period of one year to allow further discussions, but everything indicates that there is no agreement.
The company Arbec has not published any news related to this loss of certification. It maintains its policy is limited to never comment or justify in public decisions within its operations. Pierre-Olivier Lussier, Communications, told the Daily that there would be no comments in relation to this matter.
The end of the FSC certificate Arbec illustrates quite well the impossibility for forestry companies to maintain that standard. Some Native American communities have decided that there was a price to pay for obtaining Aboriginal consent required by FSC. The agreement in question apparently no longer has any link with the quality of forestry deployed on the territory concerned.
The President of FSC Canada, Franqois Dufresne, told the Daily will not be aware of this request of the Innu of Betsiamites on payment of a budget of $ 250,000 in exchange for the consent. “FSC is not informed of the relationship between the auditor (SAI Global in this case) and businesses.”
The consequences of this new loss of certification will be felt paper mills in the region. The chips produced at the sawmill Ascension Arbec are primarily for stationery Alma Resolute. This is a cumulative problem since Resolved had lost its certificates Lac-Saint-Jean and Péribonka-Mistassini supplying sawmills Lac-Saint-Jean, which in turn deliver chips in paper of the three plants and kraft pulp mill in Saint-Félicien.
For the only region of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, this is a loss of about 6.6 million hectares of forest to the FSC standard. These areas correspond to two canceled certificates and certificate suspended as Solved paper does not intend to renew and whose termination date is early July. The impact of FSC certification in Quebec is important since the standard set up by environmental groups, including Greenpeace, covering 28.4 million hectares in 2014. It has lost almost 30% of its area.
She will undergo another significant drop to fall below the 20 million hectares in mid-July when qu’Arbec must renew its FSC certificate Port-Cartier.
The same issues of free, prior and informed consent are involved with the same indigenous group.
It would be surprising qu’Arbec decided to pay the bill. Others FSC certificates will fall in the coming months as the Chief of the Atikamekw community of Obedjiwan has publicly stated that he would withdraw consent for the territory of the Mauricie if the Quebec government does not respond favorably to his requests for aboriginal rights and land claims.
The same territories have however retained the SFI and CSA. SFI continues to gain credibility in the United States. It was accepted by the accreditation bodies of green buildings in the United States as well as the FSC standard. She also made great progress in Western Canada while indigenous groups that manage large forests (two million hectares) consider it adequately meets their concern.