Quality Austria, the certification body which certified the Austrian company Schweighofer, can’t issue Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates worldwide anymore.
WWF Austria has recently filed a complaint regarding the Chain of Custody certification of Schweighofer. Thus, Accreditation Services International (ASI) suspended Quality Austria starting May 29. The suspension is valid for 6 months, as reported by Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
Quality Austria has issued the FSC Chain of Custody / Controlled Wood certificate for Schweighofer in January 2016 and WWF Austria filed the complaint with ASI in March 2016. The certificate was released for Schweighofer’s operations in Romania and other countries.
According to the EIA, there is also an ongoing investigation made by FSC into Schweighofer, which accuses the timber company for violating the organization’s Policy of Association and for “serious allegations of trading and processing illegal timber in Romania”, as the FSC had announced back in February 2016.
“ASI’s action sends a clear signal to Schweighofer’s customers and to the public that allegations leveled against Schweighofer are solid and deeply troubling. This action marks an important success for the Romanian people in their struggle to regain control of their forest sector from illegal loggers and those companies who profit from illegal logging,” said EIA Executive Director Alexander von Bismarck.
The Romanian government is also on an ongoing investigation over Schweighofer’s purchasing of illegal timber and the Austrian company’s involvement in organized crimes. As preliminary reports show, there are over 100,000 m2 of stolen logs in one of the mills owned by Holzindustrie Schweighofer in Romania.