Forestry certification programs such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) have been established to slow deforestation and promote sustainable forestry practices. However, the reliability of these certifications has been called into question, with accusations of greenwashing and illegal logging practices.
FSC, despite being a founding member of sustainable forestry certification programs, has faced numerous accusations of illegal clearcutting, illegal logging, and human rights abuses in FSC-certified forests. Greenpeace, a former member of FSC, has criticized the organization for its systemic problems and lack of control over certifying bodies. Similarly, SFI has been accused of greenwashing and failing to require consent from indigenous communities in woodland areas. While PEFC is considered to be the more equitable certification program, it has also faced criticism for downplaying its role in forest destruction and lacking transparency in its complaints procedures.
Overall, it is clear that sustainable forestry certification programs have not significantly improved forestry practices worldwide. The lack of a revised framework to correct injustices happening under the watch of these organizations is a major cause for concern. As such, it is important for management, foresters, and forestry education programs to prioritize knowledge and education in sustainable forestry practices, as well as monitoring and auditing to ensure compliance with sustainable forestry standards.