Dutch government ministers have accused environmental groups Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund of having a conflict of interest in the approval of imports of Malaysian timber, Trouw reports.
The government said earlier this week the Netherlands will support the import of Malaysian timber with an MTCS certificate rather than FCS certification, which is backed by the environmental groups.
Junior environment minister Wilma Mansveld and junior economic affairs minister Sharon Dijksma say in a parliamentary briefing that ‘in concrete terms, several NGOs which were involved in founding the FSC certification system want to promote it’.
This, the ministers imply, is why Greenpeace and the WWF do not support MTCS certification.
However, WWF spokesman Jaap van der Waarde told Trouw the accusations of a conflict of interest are ‘incomprehensible’.
‘The fact that my organisation forms part of the board of another certification system is irrelevant,’ he said. ‘The Malaysian certification system does not do the job.’
Malaysian forests are still being cut down and ‘it would appear that if the economic interests are big enough, certification systems do not need to meet Dutch sustainability targets,’ he told the paper.
Successive Dutch governments have wrestled with the approval of Malaysian timber and both an independent commission and the Dutch courts have ruled there is no question of Malaysian timber being harvested sustainably, Trouw says.
The ministers argue that the problems have now been solved and that a ‘final check’ will be made to ensure Malaysian timber imported into the Netherlands does come from sustainable sources.
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