Column: Forest certification programs competing?
Michael Hermenswww.apptimber.com Michael Hermens is the Managing Director of APP Timber and has been involved in the Asian timber industry for almost 25 years. Initially specialised in the design and manufacturing of kiln drying equipment he soon recognised the growing demand of imported sawn timber in South East Asia. As such he started Asia Panel Products Sdn. Bhd. which later was renamed "APP Timber" and became THE pioneer in promoting foreign timber to SE Asia.
PEFC responded to my mail that they would investigate and one day later, I was notified that the European mother company of this particular Malaysian company was indeed PEFC certified but the logo they used was incorrect and the mother company had been informed.
Rainforest Alliance also came back the same day with a rather astonishing reply; “when a product is FSC labeled, marks of other forest certification schemes should not be used on the same product. Regarding this case, it’s not allowed to place FSC logo in the same position with PEFC logo. PEFC is FSC’s competitor in forest certification”. Surprisingly they did not even address the issue if the Malaysian company’s FSC claim was correct and instead their reply only focused on protecting their the use of their logo. The most incredible statement was that “PEFC is FSC’s competitor” which really blew me away.
I would think that FSC (and their appointed auditors) would appreciate ANY legitimate organisation promoting similar goals. For sure forest certification schemes like AFCS, MTCS, PEFC, TFT (to name a few) run credible programs and these should not be seen as ‘competition” unless of course if you are a commercial organisation and profits are your main concern.
By the way, to date I have no reply from the Rainforest Alliance nor FSC what action has been taken to verify if the Malaysian company is certified which makes me wonder if they are only concerned about the proper use of their logo or indeed providing services to law-abiding customers like us.