12 March 2018 20:15


Forest and wood workers all over the world need our help. Tell FSC to guarantee that workers' rights to organize in trade unions are protected in the supply chain of all FSC-certified companies.

For many years now the BWI has engaged with forest certification mechanisms to ensure that workers' rights in the wood and forestry industry are protected in certified forests. The BWI believes that the economic benefits that certified forests receive, in terms of market access, should only come if producers can prove they respect workers’ rights. Our engagement has resulted in significant improvements of workers’ rights obligations and compliance.


Unlike the other Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards, the FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard does not currently have labour rights provisions. This means that timber can be certified despite the fact that it may be processed or manufactured by workers whose fundamental rights are not protected, and yet the companies concerned still receive the economic benefits of certification. At the 2017 FSC General Assembly that was held in Vancouver (Canada), the BWI and its affiliated unions proposed that the Standard be amended to include fundamental workers’ rights, however it was voted down by the General Assembly due to a lack of majority support from both the Economic and Environmental Chambers.


Both workers and consumers deserve better. Add your name at the bottom of the page to send the letter below and demand the FSC to implement labour rights in the CoC Standard. 

Take a photo of you and your union with this Yellow Card for FSC poster and send it to our facebook page


Letter text:


International Board of Directors

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)


We are writing to you in support of the workers and their representatives in FSC certified forests and timber mills, with a request that as the FSC Board you do whatever is in your power to support the adoption of Labour Rights within the Chain of Custody (CoC) standard.


BWI affiliates were shocked when the 8th General Assembly in Vancouver voted against a resolution to include ILO Core Conventions in the CoC Standard. Echoing the BWI sports campaign in which FIFA’s human rights compliance was given a Yellow and then Red Card, the Social Chamber again raised the Yellow Card, with BWI President Per Olof Sjöö remarking,


“As in football matches, we raise the Yellow Card to the FSC as a warning and call on them to engage in fair and constructive dialogue with the Social Chamber to seek solutions.”


On 1 December 2017 over 700 trade union delegates gave the FSC the Yellow Card during the BWI World Congress in Durban, South Africa.


We find it deeply disappointing that the FSC refused to guarantee labour rights for forest and wood workers, the core value creators within the timber supply chain.


We appeal to you, the International Board of Directors, to show leadership on fundamental human rights, and champion the implementation of Labour Rights in the CoC standards.


Collectively we demand FSC to:


1. Submit concrete recommendations on how the International Board can ensure workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are guaranteed by CoC certificate holders, including but not limited to observing neutrality in the course of trade union organising of their business operations.

2. Give priority and immediate resolution on complaints filed by the BWI and its affiliated unions, considering the long process of resolving past complaints, such as the complaint the BWI filed on behalf of the Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union, Malaysia against Sabah Forest Industries.

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