Calling for an investigation into ‘sustainable’ logging in B.C.

Application for inquiry: The Canadian Standard Association's false and misleading representations about their forest certification standard
Program area – Nature Status: In progress
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The most valuable forests in Canada are being cut down at an alarming rate for profit.

Recent studies show that only three per cent of B.C.’s old-growth trees remain. With every tree cut down, the unique biodiversity forest stands support and their vital role in climate regulation, water conservation, and many other ecological processes also disappear.

It is not at all possible to sustainably log 800-year-old trees. Once gone, they are gone forever. Yet, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has been certifying old-growth logging across Canada as “sustainable” since 1996.

This scam is perpetuated by CSA’s Sustainable Forestry Management standard certification, which does not prescribe or require that logging meet any definition of sustainability. This misleads consumers into believing that wood from CSA-certified logging practices is preferable because it is more sustainable. It also skews competition in the marketplace by disadvantaging legitimately sustainable products that then appear more expensive and less attractive by comparison.

It is time CSA is held accountable for leading a scam that has lined the pockets of logging companies while we witness the destruction of B.C.'s last ancient trees in real time.

In July 2021, on behalf of six signatories and supported by Stand.earth and Ancient Forest Alliance, Ecojustice filed a request for an investigation by the federal Competition Bureau into CSA’s false and misleading sustainability allegations. In August, we filed the same complaint with the Standards Council of Canada, by which the CSA is accredited.

The Competition Bureau is the public regulatory agency charged with investigating false or misleading marketing practices by private companies. If the bureau finds that CSA’s sustainability claims are indeed false, the association should be required to publicly retract and pay a $10 million fine, which could go toward supporting real conservation projects for sustainability.

A win on this issue would make an example of CSA’s fake certification and draw public attention to other misleading or blatantly false sustainability certifications that have helped decimate Canada’s biodiversity.

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