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Laos: Forest Stewardship Council terminates certification of Japanese funded tree planting project

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international initiative aiming at ensuring that wood is produced in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable manner, has terminated certification for a tree plantation project in Laos by Oji LPFL, a company created with investment by Oji Paper, a Japanese company.  The auditor noted, inter alia, that it could not verify that adequate consultation had taken place with local communities, and that questions remained as to whether these communities had agreed to sell their land. LPFL has issued a statement saying that "Fortunately LPFL do not see any negative impact regarding to withdrawal of the certificate among business activity included sales of LPFL product, as none of customer are not require FSC certificate." Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Oji Paper in Japan to respond, and was informed that Oji Paper shared the views of LPFL as expressed in its statement. 

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Company response
8 September 2015

Laos: Forest Stewardship Council certification terminated for Japanese funded tree plantation: Oji Paper response

In response to an invitation to respond, Oji Paper has informed Business & Human Rights Resource Centre that they share the views of LPFL as expressed in its statement.

7 September 2015

Laos: FSC Certification “Terminated” Tree Plantation Project in Laos Invested by Oji Paper

Author: Mekong Watch

The FSC certification is thought to have expired because the company was unable to respond to the corrective action requests imposed as a result of its 2014 annual audit. Eight major corrective action requests, including the following, and fifteen minor corrective action requests, had been imposed as a result of the audit: The audit team could not establish that local communities with customary tenure and use rights had agreed to land lease with LPFL or BGA2, for areas initially agreed with the company, under free and informed consent.  LPFL did not conduct sufficient consultation to determine whether there are indigenous people in the villages where its land lease agreement for the plantation business was signed. The auditor could not confirm if the contractor had received training in safe working practice. Forestry operation did not comply with ILO (International Labor Organization) Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Forestry. Appropriate personal protective equipment was not available on site. ...

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Author: メコンウォッチ

2014年の年次監査で同社に課せられていた是正措置要求に対応できなかったため、FSC認証の失効に至ったとみられます。年次監査では、以下の項目を含む8つの重大な是正措置要求(Major Corrective Action Requests)と、15の軽い是正措置要求(Minor Corrective Action Requests)が課せられていました:監査機関は、慣習的な土地権と土地利用権を持つ地域住民が、当初LPFL社またはBGA社 と合意した事業地について、自由で十分な情報を与えられた上での合意の下で、土地を貸し出すことに賛成したと立証することができなかった。LPFL社は、植林事業のための土地貸与の合意が結ばれた村に、先住民族が存在するかどうかを判断するために十分なコンサルテーションを実施しなかった。監査機関は、事業の請負業者が、安全な作業実施について訓練を受けたかどうかを確認できなかった。森林経営はILO(国際労働機関)の林業における安全衛生実施基準(Code of Practice)を遵守していなかった。現場において適切な個人用安全防護具が利用可能でなかった。…(原文より引用)

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6 September 2015

Laos: Oji LPFL statement on FSC Certificate Withdrawal

Author: Oji LPFL

As result of untenable conflict within the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic Laws and working to the Forest Stewardship Council(FSC)’s principles, LPFL give up to keep the FSC’s Forest Management Certification. LPFL accept official notification on 26th of May 2015 from SGS as Auditor as regarding. This is critical to the future management of this company. However LPFL management will continue to operate to improve all aspects of management with environmentally, socially and economically sustainable base working together with local society.

The critical issue to the withdrawal of the certification was strongly related to the actions of LPFL as regards several principles of the FSC, but with specific reference to FSC Principle 10 criterion 10.9[i].

LPFL is a joint venture between the Government of Lao (GOL) and many investors from Japan. In order for LPFL to operate in the country to operate any kind of activity adhering to the Laws of Lao PDR, and are governed by the concession agreements they have with the GOL. LPFL has always followed these instructions and directions and has been very transparent with any stakeholder that this is the method of operation. Its method and supporting document among such historical event has never been changed since pre-audit period for FSC audit conducted by same auditor for last 4 years. However this is deemed to be in breach of the Principle 10 amongst others and for this reason the certification will be withdrawn. LPFL are express concern about inconsistency of audit method and it has contempt and neglects regulations of GOL.

Fortunately LPFL do not see any negative impact regarding to withdrawal of the certificate among business activity included sales of LPFL product, as none of customer are not require FSC certificate. However LPFL would keep continue corporation to improve its management with whoever seek benefit to people in society and country Laos...

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