Holzindustrie Schweighofer FSC certificate suspended after NGO complaint

Posted on 24 June 2016

The move comes after protests by NGOs, including WWF
Vienna - The FSC certificate of the Austrian company Holzindustrie Schweighofer was suspended by FSC and the responsible certification body, Quality Austria. The move comes after protests by NGOs, including WWF. The environmentalists had earlier filed a complaint describing violations of FSC issuance guidelines by Schweighofer and Quality Austria. “Schweighofer used to hide behind an apparently unjustly issued certificate again and again”, says Johannes Zahnen, WWF expert for forestry policy.
WWF considers the withdrawal of the certificate an important step in solving the Holzindustrie Schweighofer case and in promoting the responsible forest management within the Danube-Carpathian region. There are many indications that, for years, the company had systematically purchased wood from suspicious sources, including the buffer zone of Retezat National Park in Romania.
The withdrawal of the certificate comes before the conclusion of a comprehensive FSC investigation. Quality Austria, the certifying body, is currently not allowed to issue FSC certificates due to the same investigation.
“FSC obviously does not want to tolerate Schweighofer’s questionable deals anymore”, Zahnen said. ”The company likes to present itself as responsible. But the indications for overexploitation of Romanian forests in the report presented last year by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and WWF are overwhelming”, Zahnen said.
The withdrawal of Schweighofer’s certificate is a success for Romanian forest conservation. It was issued for supply chains and production areas in Romania and other countries where Schweighofer buys most of its wood. 
Retezat National Park, Romania. Holzindustrie Schweighofer allegedly sourced some of its wood from its buffer zone.
© Andreas Beckmann, 2006