Campaign to STOP GE Trees Urges FSC to Disassociate from Suzano/FuturaGene

Open Letter to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) from the
Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees
Download PDF: Campaign to STOP GE Trees Letter to FSC 

Note: The response from FSC can be found here:

FSC Response letter to STOP GE Trees 2015 03 09.pdf

Brazil’s biosafety commission is currently considering petitions from forestry company Suzano, owner of biotechnology corporation FuturaGene, to allow widespread commercialization of GE (a.k.a. GM/GMO) eucalyptus tree plantations, throughout the country. In light of the serious consequences, the members of the international Campaign to STOP GE Trees (CSGET), are formally requesting, with this open letter, that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) disassociate from their member, Suzano, based on FSC Principles and Criteria.

A slide from the presentation of the Institute for Forest Biotechnology in 2013

A slide from the presentation of the Institute for Forest Biotechnology in 2013

Clearly, if the Brazilian National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) approves the pending request for commercialization of GE eucalyptus trees, Suzano will be in violation of FSC’s requirements for certification.  The Campaign further believes that Suzano making the request for commercial release already violates FSC criteria.

The FSC Principles & Criteria includes references to GMOs:
C6.8 Use of biological control agents shall be documented, minimized, monitored and strictly controlled in accordance with national laws and internationally accepted scientific protocols. Use of genetically modified organisms shall be prohibited.

Intent: FSC-POL-30-602 Genetically Modified Organisms provides a definition and guidance on the interpretation of Criterion 6.8. Genetically improved organisms (e.g., Mendelian crossed) are not considered to be genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (i.e., results of genetic engineering), and may be used. The prohibition of genetically modified organisms applies to all organisms including trees. [1]

The Campaign’s request coincides with letters [2, 3] signed by hundreds of organizations, from a multitude of countries, and delivered to the CTNBio calling on them to deny a pending request by Suzano/FuturaGene to commercially plant GE eucalyptus trees in Brazil.

FSC’s rules and the interpretation of such allows for the research of GE trees, as long as that member company doesn’t incorporate GE trees into its commercial forestry operations; however Suzano, as owner of FuturaGene, is now poised and waiting approval to do so. Therefore, the request for widespread commercialization of GE eucalyptus trees in Brazil from FuturaGene will clearly violate their FSC certification.

The Campaign further points out that independent risk assessment for the measurement and reporting of current and future disruption of environmental and human health, climate justice, social equality, and economic risks associated with the widespread proliferation of GE eucalyptus tree plantations has been virtually nonexistent. Moreover, initial first person accounts from frontline communities have reported land grabs and clashes between local communities and timber corporations including those with Suzano [4].

Therefore, The Campaign to STOP GE T rees along with other groups from around the world have joined the effort to stop commercialization of GE trees due to the potential serious and negative long-term effects on human rights and biodiversity.

The Campaign respectfully reminds FSC that any corporation that uses the Forest Stewardship Council’s certification to greenwash their operations should have their membership and certification revoked by FSC if FSC wishes to be credible. The future of viable and sustainable commercial forest operations depends on many factors but one very important element is the adherence to a clear commitment to the future health of our planet and people.

The Campaign to STOP GE Trees is an international alliance of organizations [5], that includes Indigenous Peoples, scientists, anti-GM food activists, forest protection advocates and social justice organizers from across North and South America, Europe and Australasia–all of which are home to companies and universities developing GE trees.

Anne Petermann, Campaign Coordinator, The Campaign to STOP GE Trees

FSC-POL-30-602 (2000) FSC INTERPRETATION ON GMOS (GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS): https://ic.fsc.org/policies.338.htm?lightbox[width]=720#file-details-499

Campaign to STOP GE Trees – Sign on to Support the call by Brazilian and Latin American groups to reject GE eucalyptus trees: https://wrm.org.uy/highlighted_post/campaign-to-stop-ge-trees-sign-on-to-support-the-call-by-brazilian-and-latin-american-groups-to-reject-g-e-eucalyptus-trees/

Open letter to CTNBio to reject GE trees in Brazil: https://stopgetrees.org/open-letter-ctnbio-reject-ge-trees-brazil/

Press release by World Rainforest Movement and Biofuelwatch—Maranhão Brazil: Traditional communities’ livelihoods and Cerrado biodiversity under threat in from Europe’s bioenergy boom: https://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Suzano-report-joint-PR.pdf

Organizations involved in the Campaign to STOP GE Trees include:
Biofuelwatch (US-UK): https://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network: https://www.cban.ca/
EcoNexus (EUR): https://www.econexus.info
Global Justice Ecology Project (North America) : https://globaljusticeecology.org/
Friends of the Earth Melbourne (AUS)
Indigenous Environmental Network (North America): https://www.ienearth.org/
World Rainforest Movement (Uruguay): https://wrm.org.uy

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