In its ruling, the ECJ declares that Poland has failed to fulfil its obligations under the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.
After the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared an emergency logging ban as a precautionary measure on July 2017 in the Browsk, Bialowieza and Hajnowka forest districts of the Bialowieza Forest , the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has been closely following the events involving the European Commission and Polish authorities.
With this ruling, the Polish authorities must now ensure that no further violation of EU directives takes place in the Bialowieza Forest. As a result, and to guarantee that no illegally obtained timber enters the FSC-certified supply chain from these areas, FSC reserves the right to consider new measures under our Policy for Association if future evidence confirms that the Polish authorities have not respected the ECJ sentence.
As a reminder, although the forest areas that have been logged are not FSC-certified, FSC applied a precautionary approach in August 2017 by changing the risk designations for category 1 (illegally harvested wood) of controlled wood sourced from these 3 forest districts to “specified risk”. This was because a low risk status of the Polish Risk Assessment for controlled wood under this category could no longer be confirmed in these districts as there wasn’t sufficient evidence, after the interim measure was introduced, that the ECJ ban on logging in Bialowieza forest was being respected by the relevant forest authorities of Poland at the time.
FSC is also aware of the challenges that the Polish authorities face with the situation at Bialowieza forest and understands that reaching a consensus conducive to a common plan that is satisfactory to all is paramount to resolving this issue. To this end, FSC remains available to collaborate through dialogue with the Polish authorities and other stakeholders to achieve this.