FSC and PEFC ban Russian and Belarusian wood

Jo Francis
Wednesday, March 9, 2022

FSC and PEFC have barred wood and timber from Russia and Belarus from their certified products, as a host of other industry suppliers go public with their stance against Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Certification bodies have taken action over the invasion of Ukraine. Image: FSC
Certification bodies have taken action over the invasion of Ukraine. Image: FSC

PEFC said that all timber originating from Russia or Belarus was now considered to be “conflict timber” and as a result cannot be used in any PEFC-certified products. 

The move follows an extraordinary meeting by the PEFC International Board to discuss Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “military aggression against Ukraine and its implications for PEFC and PEFC-certified forest owners and companies”. 

FSC’s international board of directors has also agreed to suspend all trading certificates in Russia and Belarus and to “block all controlled wood sourcing from the two countries”.

“This means that wood and forest products from Russia and Belarus cannot be used in FSC products or be sold as FSC certified anywhere in the world as long as the armed violence continues,” FSC stated. 

FSC explained that to continue to protect forests in Russia, the organisation would allow forest management certificate holders in Russia the option of maintaining their FSC certification of forest management, but no permission to trade or sell FSC-certified timber.

FSC director general Kim Carstensen stated: “We must act against aggression; at the same time, we must fulfil our mission of protecting forests. We believe that stopping all trade in FSC-certified and controlled materials, and at the same time maintaining the option of managing forests according to FSC standards, fulfils both these needs.”

According to Wood Resources International, Russia exported some 15m cubic metres of logs in 2020, almost 12% of the roundwood traded worldwide. However, president Putin brought in a controversial export ban on logs at the beginning of this year in a bid to support the country’s own wood processors.

Separately, a raft of other industry manufacturers and suppliers have gone public with their stance on the situation. 


UPM

UPM has now suspended the purchasing of all wood in and from Russia, as well as the operations at its UPM Chudovo plywood mill. The company said it was “preparing a mitigation plan accordingly”.

UPM employs 800 people in Russia, most of whom work at the Chudovo Mills plywood and veneers site, which makes 155,000m3 per annum of plywood and veneer for building, furniture and interiors. Earlier this month UPM announced that it would stop delivering products to Russia. 


Epson

Epson has suspended exports of its products to Russia and Belarus.

To support humanitarian relief for those affected by the crisis, the Japanese manufacturer is donating US$1m through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross. “In addition, Epson Group companies are arranging to match all funds raised through staff donations to the Red Cross,” it stated. 


Ricoh

Ricoh Europe said the business has suspended shipments of all devices to Russia and described the conflict as “shattering” for every person impacted. 

It stated: “We will continue to fully comply with all sanctions imposed on Russia.”    

Ricoh Europe has also made a donation to the Red Cross, while its operating companies across Europe are taking action to support the humanitarian crisis through fundraising and other activities. 


Canon 

Canon EMEA suspended all product deliveries into Russia earlier this month. 

“The violence and destruction being caused by the military attacks on Ukraine is shocking to all of us. We share our heartfelt concerns for our colleagues and the Ukrainian people whose lives have been deeply affected,” the firm stated. “We stand united in desire for peace.”

Canon is donating to international aid and humanitarian organisations in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.


Konica Minolta 

Tadahiko Sumitani, president of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, wrote to customers and stated: “In the middle of Europe we are now facing a dreadful, despicable and devastating war. As Konica Minolta Europe we are condemning any act of violence and warfare.”

He said KM was adhering to the sanctions imposed by the international community including the EU, USA and Japan. 

“Also, due to the sanctions for the financial sector and internal measures taken by the Russian government, payments between our European headquarters and Konica Minolta Business Solutions Russia have been suspended for now. We regret that this might have an impact on our colleagues in Russia, but we hope for their understanding.

“Our thoughts and very best wishes are with our colleagues in Ukraine. We are in touch with our colleagues from Ukraine and are making sure they have housing, medical and psychological care and food when entering a neighbouring country and we want to express our gratitude towards our colleagues in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia who are touchingly taking care of our Ukrainian colleagues and their families. 

“We also ask our colleagues in Russia for understanding. After all, we at Konica Minolta are all part of a European family and surely no one, of any given nationality, is in favour of a war – anywhere, at any time.

“May this end as soon as possible to avoid further misery and suffering.”

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