Environmental groups are seeking a forest certification monopoly instead of preserving the current system of competing certification programs that works perfectly well. A new study reveals that favoring one program – the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – favored by radical environmentalist would hurt landowners, and cost thousands of jobs. Consumers are increasingly eco-conscious and looking for products that they think reflect their beliefs. One of the ways to identify eco-conscious products are the various forest certification labels that appear on wood and paper products. These include FSC, American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Environmental groups, such as ForestEthics and Greenpeace, are pushing to have a monopoly take hold of forestry in the United States instead of allowing competition between the existing forest certification programs. Once again environmentalists are ignoring the very real impact on consumers, taxpayers and jobs to push their agenda by bullying the private sector as they pressure companies to only use the FSC label. This is the same program that was found to allow 600 year old trees in Russia to be used in IKEA furniture.
A research paper released by EconoSTATS at George Mason University entitled: Comparing Forest Certification Standards in the U.S.: Economic Analysis and Practical Consideration found that an FSC monopoly has real implications, specifically in the Southern United States as well as the Pacific Northwest.
“In Oregon, both FSC scenarios significantly reduce economic returns to landowners…Forests managed as either natural stands or plantations under FSC reduce the estimated present value of net operating cash flows by 31% to 46% for the 46 year operating period. The FSC guidelines reduced the acres available for timber harvests, which result in fewer harvested volumes of wood compared with the base case and SFI scenario."
“In Arkansas, the FSC scenario significantly reduces economic returns to landowners. Forest classified as plantations under FSC significantly reduced landowner’s returns and operating flexibility compared with the other certification scenarios…Plantations must have a 25% permanent set aside. That has significant financial implications for landowners as it removes land from operations, which permanently reduces harvest volumes and cash flows."
In Oregon, 31,000 jobs and reduce annual severance taxes by over $6 million
In Arkansas, 10,000 jobs and reduce annual severance taxes by over $600,000
It’s clear from the report that a monopoly standard of forest certification programs kills jobs.