Timbergreen and FSC, 2003 page 2
Certification Back-Fires on Forest Owners
FSC has never been explained for the small woodlot owner. The current standard of Principles, Criteria etc. is so complicated that it would confound 99.9% of woodlot owners. For years I've been told, "something is being done about this" but so far I have seen nothing.
This deepens the dependence that a woodlot owner has on the professional forester and non-profit environmental organization. This is so serious yet so subtle. KaBOOOM!!
The forestry coops were designed to set the forest owners free from a traditional and repressive system of industry control. Choosing FSC has actually lead the groups of innocent woodlot owners right back to the slaughterhouse. Wow.!!!
Favors big business and those with lots of money
In the rush to accumulate lots of certified acres, the tendency of the certification system has been to sell out to big business at the expense of the little woodlot owner and small business. I believe what has happened in the UK is indeed happening here too - the small woodlot owners will be at a disadvantage to big business and will suffer!
Costs are ridiculously high
Costs of being certified have gone ballistic. As the funding charitable foundations try and wean the certifiers from the grants, the certifiers have to keep raising their fees. In many cases, some grant money then does pay the higher fees for the forest owner or government entity = reinforcing the dependence on grants - not sales of certified wood. Small forest management businesses are at a severe disadvantage here. And where is most of our timber in Wisconsin?
Creates wrong focus for marketing
Local demand for certified wood was never created - but the global demand for certified wood has turned into a major distraction. Global orders are always for huge quantities at rock bottom wholesale prices - and you find that the people on the other end really don't understand anything about FSC - it is just the fad now. Much time and energy has gone into chasing FSC orders with little positive results. If that time was put into local contacts, everyone would be much farther ahead today.
My advice today to all the coops is - forget FSC - build your own local brand recognition in your area.