“We are actually accountable to FSC on following the standards. They check up on our workers’ conditions as well as on the conditions of the wildlife.“
The day Abraham Gonzalez Sosa was chosen to be president of the FSC-certified forest community, Ejido Noh-Bec, he wasn’t even a candidate. He was managing the community’s sawmill and had just shown up to the election to see who would win. Later that night the community of more than 200 households unanimously agreed that Abraham would be the perfect leader to represent them, and today he leads forest activities in addition to representing the community as their president.
More than 90 per cent of the community’s income is from the surrounding FSC-certified forest and sawmill. The community owns the land and everyone gets a cut of the profits. The FSC-certified forest and sawmill employs around 100 people, generating an income as well.
To explain what FSC has meant to the community, Abraham points to both forest management and workers’ conditions: “The FSC certification has meant access to new markets and extra income for workers. In general, we pay three times the local salary for a worker here at our sawmill,” he says. “From a forest perspective, FSC certification has taught us a lot. FSC and auditor visits means that we learned responsible logging, both in terms of the importance of safety for our workers; and also in terms of minimizing the damage to the surrounding environment during our activities.”
According to Abraham, an important aspect of FSC-certification is the monitoring of activities through the yearly FSC audits.
“We are actually accountable to FSC on following their standards. They check up on our workers’ conditions as well as on the conditions of the wildlife. In this area we have a lot of jaguars, and as part of our FSC-certification we have to register wildlife to see if the population is affected."