The FSC certification body SGS has put a moratorium in place for its FSC forest management certification services.
The organization will thus not sign any new contracts for FSC forest management certification as long as the moratorium continues.
The decision was taken after the conclusion of several recent audits of SGS, documenting a number of non-conformances in the way SGS operates its FSC services. The audits were performed by Accredited Services International (ASI), which carries out supervision of the performance of FSC-accredited certification bodies.
In the early days of FSC, SGS Qualifor was the most successful FSC certification program in terms of forest certification market share, which reached close to 50% of the FSC certified forest area at its peak. However, since the beginning of this century, ASI audits have documented numerous issues with forest management certificates issued by SGS, and the company has lost close to half of its market share as regards FSC certified forest area.
In May this year, ASI suspended SGS in Poland from issuing any new FSC certificates or re-issue existing certificates in the country. The suspension covers both FSC Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certificates including certification of FSC Controlled Wood.
SGS will maintain its current FSC forest management certificates, and will continue to sign contracts for FSC chain of custody certification. SGS also indicates that the SGS Group remains committed to FSC and will continue to publicly support the FSC program.
Sources: FSC-International and ASI audit reports