Instead of teak from Burma or so-called "hardwood" from other Asian countries, the environmental NGOs have appealed to customers to demand environmentally certified wood products labelled by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This arrangement is a co-operation between businesses and a number of NGOs. After some years of consumer campaigns against "rainforest furniture", the demand for FSC-labelled products has exceeded supply. Powerful forces are now pressing for faster certification.
The pace of certification ought to be determined by whether forestry is actually turning more environment-friendly, not by what consumers wish or hope for. The role of the WWF rates a special mention here, because the organisation through its trade networks (buyers' groups) for the international timber industry is contributing to a pressure in the FSC process that may quickly have negative results. The credibility of the FSC label, however, depends on its criteria being followed.
The environmental NGOs now carry the responsibility for making sure that the alternative recommended to consumers actually fulfills the promises.
Norwatch Newsletter 2/01