Timbergreen Forestry and FSC Certification - January 2003
Some things just don't turn out like you expected!
Please read this all the way through to get the whole picture. This comes from what has actually happened here the past 5+ years.
The Big Bulls Eye
I knew that big changes were needed in the forestry system here in Wisconsin, and FSC originally gave me hope for some help. There were lots of promises from the alphabet soup non-profit environmental organizations that they would do lots of things to make FSC well known in Wisconsin. Too bad most of those folks who made the promises have moved onto other jobs with other non-profits and little progress has actually been made on this. I can't even remember the last customer who came here requesting certified wood.
Even so, Business has never been better here at Timbergreen.
What Actually Happened:
Choosing to become FSC certified made us into a huge target for both the industry and government foresters. We have been pummeled from every direction as we stood for this new standard. (By We, I mean Timbergreen, Neta, Yoder, and the original vision of the Sustainable Woods Cooperative)
If the forestry cooperatives had just set out to turn their own trees into flooring, no one would have noticed - well they would have chuckled a little. But the FSC label has created a lot of opposition that has made this a disaster, business-wise, for Timbergreen and the coops.
If forest owners had stood strong together, we could have won this battle.
If the current Wisconsin coops would form an alliance and work together,
we would be the most powerful force in the region. But we were divided,
distracted, and conquered by the non-profit organizations with the money
(that they raised based on our years of hard work - who were supposed to be helping us. Instead they helped themselves to all the money.....)
FSC is much too complex
Every forest owner sees the need for certification of the foresters and logging operations that are in this area They grab onto this new hope of some magical new standard that will provide them with better forestry. But no forest owner around here that I have talked to understands what FSC really is, and few have paid a penny extra to become certified, so they have no real ownership of being certified (just another freebie in most cases)