Effective 7 August 2013, the Forest Stewardship Council has ended all association with the APRIL Group, including the immediate termination of all Trademark License Agreements (TLA).
This decision follows the withdrawal of APRIL companies from FSC Chain of Custody certification, which FSC was notified about after a complaint had been filed in May 2013. The complaint by Greenpeace International, Rainforest Action Network and WWF Indonesia alleged the April Group was in violation of FSC’s Policy for Association.
According to a statement by APRIL published on 24 June 2013, the withdrawal was based on their “concerns about the FSC’s Policy for Association.” April further acknowledged in writing that they “expect the Policy for Association criteria would exclude April and companies associated with it from FSC certification.”
With the termination of the remaining association with April, FSC has now also closed the complaint filed by the environmental NGOs.
In the future, before FSC re-enters into a new association with April a robust due diligence process would be required. Because of the allegations made by the environmental NGOs in their complaint, which were in part acknowledged by April, any company linked to April – including companies tied to the Royal Golden Eagle Group (of which April is a part) – would be subject to scrutiny before being considered for FSC certification.