FSC began a proactive investigation into the Jari Group (Jari) upon gaining knowledge of allegations of involvement in illegal logging or trade of forest products and violation of traditional and human rights in forestry operations. After the investigation by the Complaints Panel, it was concluded that Jari had in fact engaged in illegal logging, resulting in the FSC Board of Directors agreeing to disassociate from the company.
FSC Board of Directors decides to disassociate from Jari.
Investigation panel conducts a field visit to company’s operations in Brazil. Interviews are held with company’s representatives, as well as with affected stakeholders and community members.
Complaints panel is established and investigation begins.
FSC suspends all FSC certificates held by Jari, as a prevention measure until the PfA investigation is concluded.
FSC International decides to conduct a proactive Policy for Association investigation of Jari.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Case
Why did FSC conduct a proactive investigation into Jari Group?
In 2014, the Brazilian Federal Public Prosecution Service, Federal Police, Brazilian Environmental Institute (IBAMA) and the Federal Justice investigated Jari Group’s (Jari) involvement in a scheme of illegal logging and fraud in the State of Para in Brazil as part of a larger investigation.
While aware of the investigation, Jari’s certifying body could not revoke the company’s FSC certificates as the forest management areas under investigation were not within the scope of the FSC certified area.
Due to the risks that Jari’s activities were in breach of the FSC Policy for Association (PfA) – and with the objective to ensure the integrity and credibility of FSC certification and its system – FSC decided to proactively conduct a Policy for Association investigation into the organization which included both certified and non-certified forestry operations of Jari.
The Brazilian Federal Police already investigated the Jari Group, why was there an additional investigation by FSC?
It was necessary for FSC to open a Policy for Association investigation to determine to what extent Jari was involved in ‘illegal logging or the trade in illegal wood or forest products’, its level of responsibility in these dubious activities, and to determine if there was also a ‘violation of traditional and human rights in forestry operations’ (a matter which was not included in the scope of the investigation conducted by the authorities in Brazil and which FSC proactively investigated).
The investigation panel was able to draw from the Brazilian Federal Investigation report and findings to use within its own Policy for Association investigation and subsequent conclusive report.
Throughout the Policy for Association investigation process, Jari was given the opportunity to provide comment and defense. When conducting Policy for Association investigations, investigation panels utilize national frameworks and legal systems as well as incorporating applicable international laws and conventions to ensure impartial and fair investigations.
In what way was Jari Group found in violation of Traditional and Human Rights in Forestry Operations?
The investigating panel (formed by three independent investigators) found that it was beyond reasonable doubt that the Jari Group failed to recognize the existence of traditional communities within its forest management area in a complete, consistent and formalized manner.
Additionally, there was a suspicion of Jari further violating traditional and human rights by failing to comply with terms of the agreements with communities concerning communities’ land tenure rights recognition and using violence against community members in the process of claiming and defending its land tenure rights.
As an FSC certified operation, companies are expected to uphold core elements of FSC principles, specifically the protection of traditional and indigenous people within forestry areas. The complaints panel found that Jari did not formally and consistently recognize and map the existence of traditional communities within their forest management area thus violating the Policy for Association.
In justifying and further interpreting their findings, the panel analyzed the results of document analysis and stakeholder engagement against the following national and international laws and conventions:
International Conventions and Laws:
- Convention n° 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the International Labor Organization (2004) Article 1, 2 4 6 and 7.
- Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Decree nº 80.978, 12 December 1977).
- Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio de Janeiro 1992.
- Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Paris 2005.
- Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003).
- Federal Constitution (1998) Article 215 and 216.
- Decree n° 6040, National Policy of Sustainable Development of Traditional Peoples and Communities (2007), Article 3.
- Law nº 13123, Chapter I, article 2, item IV (20 May 2015), Article 2.
- Brazilian Guideline of Good Corporative Practices with Indigenous People, of the Initiative Dialogue Organizations and Indigenous People.
These laws provide the framework that further supplements FSC Standards to define forest management practices to which certified companies are expected to adhere to.
Why is Community Mapping important for responsible forestry operations?
FSC Standards highlight the importance of a company’s obligation towards identifying the presence, respecting the rights, and recognizing the culture of traditional peoples.
Only after a community has been identified and mapped, can a company effectively take the necessary precautionary measures to avoid impacts on such populations when developing forest management activities in FSC certified areas.
For decades, Traditional Peoples in the State of Para have used forested areas to extract natural resources such as Brazilian nuts, acai and other non-timber forest products, and depend on the free access to areas that fall within Jari’s management units for their livelihoods and subsistence. Failing to consistently formally recognize and subsequently formalize the right to freely access and collect such resources has a negative impact on the community members’ wellbeing and livelihoods due to their restricted access to forest resources.
Without a transparent and formal recognition of traditional communities, there is no baseline for land tenure and usage rights to be drawn upon. Additionally, community mapping helps ensure that FPIC (Free, Prior and Informed Consent) principles can be applied as required by FSC’s Principles and Criteria.
How was the company engaged in illegal logging?
Jari sourced and harvested wood from forest management units engaged in illegal and dubious logging activities. It is incumbent on a company to perform its own due diligence when sourcing wood, especially in a high-risk area such as the Amazon.
The complaints panel found serious deficiencies in the organization’s due diligence which led to their involvement in illegal logging or the trade in illegal wood or forest products.
Additionally, the Federal Public Prosecution Service, Federal Police, Brazilian Environmental Institute and Federal Justice of Brazil found that Jari submitted false information to the Forestry Products Control System of Brazil (SISFLORA) leading to the “virtual trade” of 5,070,653 m³ of undue forest credits. Jari was thus found to be complicit in timber laundering through overestimating up to 30% of their timber volumes leading to exceeding forest credits and overexploitation of forest resources.
What would the Roadmap process look like for Jari?
FSC will only end the disassociated status of Jari, if the company engages and collaborates in an extensive Roadmap process, where independent verification is able to demonstrate that Jari has complied with the conditions for ending disassociation stipulated by FSC.
A Roadmap takes into consideration the recommended conditions for re-association by the complaints panel, as well as extensive stakeholder engagement, towards compensating for, remedying and preventing Policy for Association violations.