West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft Forest Stewardship Council Regional Certification Standard for British Columbia (the "Draft Standard").
WCEL is a non-profit BC society. Since 1974, WCEL has provided free environmental legal services: legal aid – including legal representation and funding – legal research, public legal education, progressive law reform, and the maintenance of a public library of environmental legal materials. We are dedicated to empowering citizens to participate in all aspects of decision-making to protect our environment. We recognise that enabling consumers to make choices that encourage forest practices that conserve and maintain forest ecosystems is an increasingly important way for citizens to influence what happens in our forests. In this manner, WCEL firmly believe that Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) eco-certification has an important role to play in putting forest use in British Columbia on a more sustainable path.
Strong, ecologically-oriented, and measurable standards are critical to the credibility and success of FSC certification in BC. The comments below are offered in the spirit of supporting and enhancing the considerable work done to date in developing the Draft Standard.
One overarching comment that we would like to make on the Draft Standard, however, is as follows. Our support for the FSC is grounded on the fact that FSC certification is fundamentally about doing forestry differently. As development of the Regional Certification Standard for British Columbia continues, we urge FSC-BC to reject any proposed revisions that could allow certification of volume-based timber extraction through status quo industrial forestry.