Over 100,000 tons of FSC plywood appear to have been exported from China fraudulently.

This is according to a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The EIA alleges that, for years, a manufacturer claimed that all of the Pencil Cedar (Palaquium spp.) in its plywood originated from a concession certified by the Forest Stewardship Council in Solomon Islands.

However, after investigating, the EIA concluded that the volume of this FSC-certified product sold by the manufacturer to its European customers was about 20 times higher than that which can be manufactured from the volume of Palaquium spp. logs produced by the FSC concession.

In other words, over 95 percent of the volume of plywood imported by the company’s European customers between 2016 and 2018 likely did not come from the FSC concession as claimed.

In January of 2021, FSC suspended and terminated several certificates associated with the plywood manufacturer.

The violations were made by companies that were trading non-certified plywood products as certified.”

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

According to the Council, “This move comes after systematic violations of FSC certification requirements were uncovered in an extensive investigation by ASI and FSC into plywood supply chains using tropical face veneers. The violations were made by companies that were trading non-certified plywood products as certified.”

Wood product labeling can be fraudulent, including third-party certification labels. And even when labeling is genuine, certification does not equate to legality.

See: Can FSC certified wood be illegal?

Buyers who require proof of forest origin of a wood product should apply the same due diligence to certified products, as they do to non-certified products.

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