Media Brief: FSC PfA summary of complaint

The Samling Policy for Association complaint to FSC alleges several major violations in three conflict areas in Sarawak where Samling has logged natural forests in traditional territories in alleged violation of Indigenous rights, without free, prior, and informed consent, and resulting in the destruction of high conservation values and destruction of proposed protected areas. The complaint includes more than a dozen community claims against the company, and is backed up by satellite imagery, mapping, photographic evidence, and community testimony, compiling evidence of encroachment spanning 5 years.

Although Samling’s timber concessions in Sarawak are not FSC certified, the company holds three FSC chain of custody certificates. According to the FSC Policy for Association, some forestry practices “are so destructive that they cannot be tolerated…organizations found responsible for these activities face exclusion from the FSC scheme.” This includes deforestation, destruction of High Conservation Values, and human and traditional rights violations. 

The complaint covers the areas where Samling’s practices should be grounds for exclusion from the FSC system. These include Samling’s history as a bad actor and former claims of violations that should have been red flags to FSC. It runs through the numerous instances where Samling has failed to consult communities and violated customary rights. It outlines how Samling’s operations pose threats to the Upper Baram Forest Area and to High Conservation Value forests in Sarawak. It also details forest conversion that has occurred within the Gerenai FMU in contravention of FSC Controlled Wood rules. 

The complaint contends that FSC should investigate Samling against the FSC Policy for the Association of Organisations and withdraw their FSC Licence Agreement, effectively withdrawing the company’s ability to be certified to FSC Standards.

Conflict areas and alleged violations

1. FTL T/0405 

2. MTCS-certified Gerenai and Ravenscourt FMUs

  • Logging in communal forest and failure to consult community of Long Tungan prior to Gerenai FMU certificate being issued: 
  • Failure to consult community of Ba Jawi prior to Gerenai FMU certificate being issued:  
  • Harassment of local civil society organisations through SLAPP suit:  
  • Failure to consult the communities of Long Tevenga, Ba Peresek, Long Adang and Long Gita prior to the Ravenscourt FMU being issued: 

3. Upper Baram Forest Area 

  • Violation of agreement with and encroachment into Long Moh land, including sacred site: 
  • Logging in Upper Baram forest area, blockaded by Long Ajeng community: 
  • Logging near to the culturally sensitive Bateu Siman rock formation, blockaded by Long Ajeng, Long Lamam and Long Murum communities: 
  • Logging in proposed Long Moh Wildlife Sanctuary