For more than twenty years, the certification program of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has prohibited the commercial use of genetically engineered (GE or genetically modified) trees – but this important ban is under threat. Sign to call on the FSC to maintain its ban on GE trees, and to halt its plans to endorse GE tree field tests.
FSC’s ban on GE trees is necessary to protect the future of our forests. FSC’s prohibition exists because the risks and uncertainties associated with GE trees are too many, and the stakes are too high. The release of genetically engineered trees would threaten forests and forest ecosystems, and impact many local communities and Indigenous peoples.
FSC’s ban stands in the way of GE trees. FSC certifies paper products if they are produced in compliance with its environmental and social standards. FSC prohbits its member companies from using GE trees for commercial purposes, in certified or non-certified areas. But FSC has launched what it calls a “genetic engineering learning process” where FSC proposes to directly oversee selected field tests of GE trees. FSC is developing its own “governance model” of “safeguards” for this purpose.
The impacts of FSC decisions:
- If FSC oversees field tests of GE trees, FSC would be implicated in any direct or indirect negative environmental impacts of these field experiments, as well as any social, economic and cultural impacts.
- FSC’s “learning process” is a first step towards accepting GE trees. FSC says the learning process will help them to discuss whether or not FSC should allow member companies to commercially plant GE trees (in non-certified areas). This policy change could immediately result in companies growing GE trees on a commercial scale and it would open the door globally to the widespread, dangerous release of GE trees.