Audit finds ‘major non-conformities’ in granting East Coast forests a green stamp of approval

By Eloise Gibson
Radio New Zealand
February 27, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A damning report has found “major non-conformities” in the way East Coast forests were granted a stamp of environmental stewardship, despite “compelling evidence” of problems. An audit of the auditors who gave Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to forests owned by Malaysian company Ernslaw One has found serious shortcomings in the checks carried out over multiple years. Intense storms in 2017, 2018 and 2023 caused massive landslides from logging sites in FSC-certified forests, devastating properties, roads and bridges. The FSC badge is supposed to prove a forest is under responsible management, so some green advocates were surprised when Ernslaw One kept its FSC label, after being fined in court for breaking environmental law. Late last year, an independent assessor from overseas auditors ASI visited Gisborne to check on the forests on behalf of FSC and speak to people in the area, after locals and green groups complained.

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