FSC announced that its Accreditation Services (ASI) would be "conducting a Forest [sic] Management surveillance audit of SGS at Veracel in Brazil between the 26th-28th of March 2008". Within the framework of the evaulation process, the Social Environmental Forum of the Extreme South of Bahia was invited to take part in the Evaluation process, below their answer:
To Mr. André de Freitas,
We received your letter and already socialized that with our partners in the Social and Environmental Forum of the Extreme South of Bahia and discussed about the issue of our participation in this process.
We decided together not to participate in this audit, nor as observers, neither by means of a meeting/conversation with the auditors team, once we evaluate that this effort makes no sense because the pulp company Veracel just got the FSC-certificate in 13/03/2008, according to a message of Mr. Azanbuja of SGS sent by email from 18/03/2008, coincidently on the same day as we received your invitation for us to participate in the audit.
We are not willing participate once more in a 'teatre', as happened in 2006, when FSC also decided to carry out an audit in relation to the certification of Suzano/Bahia Sul, that also had received the FSC-certificate then. At that time, we met with the audit team in Teixeira de Freitas, we told them about the situation, we responded to the report but nothing happened. What got left was our word against their word. So we concluded that an audit under these conditions is a mere formality for the FSC and for us, civil society, a loss of time and energy.
This time we were willing to sit down with your team, imagining that FSC, by carrying out an audit before the emission of the certificate, had the intention to prevent Veracel Celulose from certification, something that could give back to the FSC something of its credibility so negatively affected by having authorized the certification of millions of hectares of companies monocultures in the world as being socially just, environmentally adequate and economically viable.
We also understand the strategy of SGS in providing the seal before the audit as a way of complicating the audit and to guarantee the commitment assumed with the Veracel company. Therefore, we refuse to be part of this play,
The Social and Environmental Forum of the Extreme South of Bahia.