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Forest Certification System Says No to GE Trees

World's Premium Forest Certification System Says No to GE Trees


Auckland, 23rd October. The New Zealand plantation industry is poised to cash in on having GE free status as a cascade of companies line up for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 'green' certification to access key USA, European and Asian markets, claimed Greenpeace today.

"Key forest products markets have given a very clear signal through demanding FSC certified products - no GE thanks," said Grant Rosoman, Forests Campaigner in New Zealand.

"The Forest Stewardship Council is explicit with one of its forest management criteria prohibiting the use of genetically modified organisms. The FSC is the only credible international forest certification system."

The FSC Criteria 6.8 on genetic engineering of trees reads: "Use of genetically modified organisms shall be prohibited."

In May 2000 a National Initiative on the FSC began in New Zealand involving all key stakeholders. Part of this initiative is a standards setting process where the FSC set of international Principles and
Criteria for Forest Management are adapted for use within New Zealand. A prohibition on the use of GMOs will become a key component of this national standard.

"Over half the plantations in New Zealand could be FSC certified within a year, making it a world leader in certification," said Rosoman.

"Any release of GE organisms would potentially put these certified areas, and therefore their access to high-value markets at risk."

The Forest Stewardship Council is a global forest certification system that has certified more than 24 million hectares of plantations and forests in 33 countries. It is a non-governmental organisation that oversees the third-party certification to internationally agreed forest management standards. It is
supported by most international environmental NGOs. Many buyers and markets have stipulated a preference for FSC wood, including Home Depot and Lowes, the largest and third largest Do-It-Yourself retailers in USA, more than 70 UK wood product using companies with a turn-over in excess of $30 billion, and over 700 companies from 14 countries in the Global Forest and Trade Network.

Grant Rosoman is an environmental representative on the NZ FSC National Initiative Working Group, and is nominated to the international board of the FSC.

ENDS

Contacts:
Grant Rosoman, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner, Ph: 03 382 5476 (day/night)
Annette Cotter, GE Campaigner, Ph 09 630 6317x308 or 021 565 175

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