Tagged ‘Forestry‘

NEWS: Rainforest Alliance Looks to Play in (the False Solution of) Carbon Markets

PA Carbon Technical Specialist6-12

665 Broadway, Suite 500 – NewYork, NY 10012
Tel.: 212-677-1900
Title: Carbon Technical Specialist – Quality Assurance Unit, RA-Cert Division

Reports to: Quality Assurance Manager – Quality Assurance Unit, RA-Cert Division
Location: Richmond, VT

The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Based in New York City, with offices throughout the United States and worldwide, the Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers.

RA-Cert, a division of the Rainforest Alliance, supports the organization’s mission by delivering sustainability auditing, verification, validation and certification services based on the best available global standards. RA-Cert conducts its work with the highest integrity, transparency and quality in order to generate positive economic, ecological and social benefits for our clients and worldwide.

Position Summary:

The Carbon Technical Specialist will serve as the RA-Cert auditing and certification division’s global resource for policies, systems, quality monitoring and training for carbon validation and verification services implemented across RA-Cert’s regions and partner organizations. S/he will have oversight of services including maintenance of related accreditations, audit management, auditing, and monitoring of Rainforest Alliance’s global carbon portfolio to ensure consistent implementation of RA-Cert policies and procedures.

Green Veneer | WWF Helps Industry More than Environment


By Jens Glüsing and Nils Klawitter


“Some people consider it outrageous that Spanish King Juan Carlos, who enjoys hunting big game, is the honorary president of WWF Spain. Here, a 2006 photo of Juan Carlos (right) during a hunting trip in Botswana.”


The WWF is the most powerful environmental organization in the world and campaigns internationally on issues such as saving tigers and rain forests. But a closer look at its work leads to a sobering conclusion: Many of its activities benefit industry more than the environment or endangered species.

Want to protect the rainforest? All it takes is €5 ($6.30) to get started. Save the gorillas? Three euros and you’re in. You can even do your part for nature with only 50 cents — as long as you entrust it to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which is still known by its original name of the World Wildlife Fund in the United States and Canada.

Last year, the WWF, together with German retail group Rewe, sold almost 2 million collectors’ albums. In only six weeks, the program raised €875,088 ($1.1 million), which Rewe turned over to the WWF.

The WWF has promised to do a lot of good things with the money, like spending it on forests, gorillas, water, the climate — and, of course, the animal the environmental protection group uses as its emblem, the giant panda.

Governments also entrust a lot of money to the organization. Over the years, the WWF has received a total of $120 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For a long time, German government ministries were so generous to the organization that the WWF even decided, in the 1990s, to limit the amount of government funding it could receive. The organization was anxious not to be seen as merely an extension of government environmental protection agencies.

Illusion of Aid

But can the WWF truly protect nature against human beings? Or do the organization’s attractive posters merely offer the illusion of help? Fifty years after the organization was founded, there are growing doubts as to the independence of the WWF and its business model, which involves partnering with industry to protect nature.

The WWF, whose international headquarters are located in Gland, Switzerland, is seen as the world’s most powerful conservation organization. It is active in more than 100 countries, where it enjoys close connections to the rich and the powerful. Its trademark panda emblem appears on Danone yoghurt cups and the clothing of jetsetters like Princess Charlene of Monaco. Companies pay seven-figure fees for the privilege of using the logo. The WWF counts 430,000 members in Germany alone, and millions of people give their savings to the organization. The question is how sustainably this money is actually being invested.

SPIEGEL traveled around South America and the Indonesian island of Sumatra to address this question. In Brazil, an agricultural industry executive talked about the first shipload of sustainable soybeans, certified in accordance with WWF standards, to reach Rotterdam last year, amid a flurry of PR hype. The executive had to admit, however, that he wasn’t entirely sure where the shipment had come from. In Sumatra, members of a tribal group reported how troops hired by WWF partner Wilmar had destroyed their houses, because they had stood in the way of unfettered palm oil production.

NGOs Disappear With Money Meant for Afforestation

New Delhi, May 1, 2012

Making a mockery of the government’s afforestation programme, many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have disappeared with crores of tax-payers’ money released by the government for planting saplings.

Image for representation purpose onlyOut of 560 projects sanctioned to voluntary agencies between 2003 and 2008, proponents of 537 projects vanished midway with the first and second instalment of funds amounting close to Rs 30 crore without showing any evidence for completion of the work.

Only in 20 projects — 3.57 per cent of total projects costing Rs 1.79 crore — were all the three instalment of grants released as agencies could submit documentary evidence in support of their previous work.

“The possibility of misutilisation (of fund) or fraud is not ruled out as a majority of the voluntary agencies neither came back to the National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board for the next instalments after the release of first instalment nor furnish utilisation certificate or progress reports,” the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament said in its report.

Secret Forest Sell-off ‘Shopping Lists’ Drawn up by Conservation Groups

Secret forest sell-off ‘shopping lists’ drawn up by conservation groups, Wed 11 Jan 2012

The National Trust and Wildlife Trusts gave the government secret lists of public woodlands before the sale was halted

The conservation groups handed the government secret ‘shopping lists’ of public forests before the proposed sale was halted. Photograph: Jason Friend/Alamy

Damian Carrington

Secret “shopping lists” of public woodlands were handed to the government by the National Trust and the Wildlife Trusts before huge public anger halted the proposed sell-off, the Guardian can reveal. The lists were a “betrayal of their members”, according to the leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, who said the organisations had “rolled over to have their tummies tickled by the government”. The same organisations now sit on the independent panel set up in the wake of the fiasco to advise the government on the future of public forests.

Porritt is member of a new pressure group called Our Forests that on Wednesday set out its vision, including a plan for a “Domesday forest” involving planting a billion trees in England. The report also demands that “all our public woods are distanced from the control of ‘big government’ and given full and lasting protection for ‘big society’,” and warns that public woodland could still be sold off.

A huge public backlash against proposals from the environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, to dispose of England’s state-owned woodlands forced her into a humiliating U-turn and apology. The independent panel will make its final recommendations this spring, and has already condemned the government for “greatly undervaluing” the nation’s forestry estate.

Opposition to the sell-off was led by campaign group 38 Degrees, which amassed 534,000 signatures on its petition. However, when the government first proposed the sell-off and invited private “expressions of interest” via the Forestry Commission, the National Trust and Wildlife Trusts both submitted lists, now released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) after requests under environmental freedom of information rules. The Wildlife Trusts listed over 160 woods across England while the National Trust named 11 areas, including some that were not on the “list for disposal”.

“I believe they betrayed their members, absolutely,” Porritt said. “The NGOs have to hold the government to account, rather than roll over and have their tummies tickled. I don’t think we would have got into this mess if the NGOs had sat down at the start and said to government: ‘You are barking mad’.”

Another Our Forests member, the former Forestry Commission employee Robin Maynard, said: “It is astonishing that these organisations underestimated the scale of public concern so badly. Rightly or wrongly, people are still cautious about putting their trust in these groups [as members of the independent advisory panel], which had behind-the-scenes discussions.”

A spokeswoman for the Wildlife Trusts said: “Once we were aware the government might dispose of the public forestry estate we quickly identified Forestry Commission sites that we consider to be particularly important for achieving our vision of a ‘living landscape’ and communicated this to Defra. We obviously wanted to be sure that any disposals would result in sympathetic management and opportunities for restoration would not be missed. We believe it is important to be in dialogue with the government about [such ] issues. However, open and frank dialogue does not mean that we are in agreement. We would never engage in deal-making that would go against the interests of nature or the people who love it.”

Simon Pryor, natural environment director at the National Trust, said: “The scale of public support for the forests of England last year caught everyone by surprise and showed how much our natural environment matters to people. It’s interesting that some of the Our Forests’ proposals, such as the creation of more woodland and bringing woodland into management, resonate with comments in the independent panel’s interim report.”

Like the National Trust and Wildlife Trusts, the RSPB and the Woodland Trust were also asked by the Forestry Commission to express their interest in acquiring woodland but they told the commission they were not interested.

Porritt argues discovering the truth about how the NGOs operated is important, but also says moving the forestry debate into a positive discussion is crucial. Publicly owned woodlands could be an “exemplar of sustainable land use”, he says, from an economic, climate change, recreational and wellbeing point of view. The report notes that today the public forest estate delivers goods and services worth £2bn annually at a cost to each individual taxpayer of just 30p a year.

The ‘Domesday forest’ plan aims to raise woodland in England from less than 10% to the 15% recorded by the Doomsday book in 1086, by 2050. Our Forests call the plan ambitious but achievable and Porritt notes that planting trees remains one of the most cost-effective ways of tackling global warming. Existing government plans are to plant a million trees over four years.

However, Porritt warned that the 25% budget cut currently being exacted from the Forestry Commission would leave a body unable to implement “even the mealy mouthed recommendations likely to come from the independent panel.” He also warned that the sell-off of 15% of public woodlands has only been halted, not abandoned: “There has been no ideological change and given half the chance the government would backslide into a piecemeal sell-off.”