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DRS Consultation
FSC’s Quality Assurance Unit is launching a public consultation on the guiding and normative framework for the Dispute Resolution System (DRS)


This revision is needed for the following reasons:

  • The normative documents which constitute the present DRS were approved in 2009. Over the past four years, they have been through minor revisions but it is only in the past two years that FSC has tested them on the ground. The complaints that we have managed highlight shortcomings and the need to make the DRS more effective.
  • Many stakeholders think the DRS is too complex. There is a clear demand for simplification at all levels. With this revision, we aim to streamline the procedures and eliminate aspects that stakeholders find confusing.
  • The language of the DRS documents should be improved and inconsistencies addressed.

There are three proposed key changes to the DRS:

  • FSC-STD-01-005 will become a Guidance Document.
  • There will be no procedure for informal complaints. FSC-PRO-01-008 will be used for formal complaints while FSC-PRO-01-009 will be used for Policy for Association (PfA) complaints.
  • The ‘Guidance for Panels evaluating complaints under the Policy for Association’ (FSC-GUI-01-004) will be integrated into the ‘PfA Complaints Procedure’ (FSC-PRO-01-009). 

This revision of the DRS was initiated and approved before the revised version of the ‘FSC Procedure for the Development and Revision of FSC Normative Documents’ (FSC-STD-01-001 V3-0) was published.

A separate consultation process was initiated in early September 2013 to revise the ‘Policy for the Association of Organizations with FSC’ (FSC-POL-01-004) and the ‘Due Diligence Evaluation for the Association with FSC’ (FSC-PRO-10-004).

Documents included in this DRS revision:

#CURRENT VERSIONPROPOSED REVISED VERSION
1 FSC-STD-01-005 (V1-0) EN
FSC Dispute Resolution System
FSC-GUI-01-005 (V1-0) EN
FSC Dispute Resolution System
2 FSC-PRO-01-005 (V2-1) EN
Processing Appeals
FSC-PRO-01-005 (V3-0) EN
Processing Appeals
3 FSC-PRO-01-008 (V1-0) EN
Processing Complaints in FSC Certification Scheme
FSC-PRO-01-008 (V2-0) EN
Processing Complaints in FSC Certification Scheme
4 FSC-PRO-01-009 (V2-1) EN
Processing Formal Complaints in the FSC Certification Scheme
FSC-PRO-01-009 (V3-0) EN
Processing Policy for Association Complaints in the FSC® Certification Scheme
5 FSC-GUI-01-004 (V2-0) EN
Guidance for Panels evaluating complaints under the Policy for Association
FSC-PRO-01-009 (V3-0) EN
Processing Policy for Association Complaints in the FSC® Certification Scheme
Rationale and major changes

  • This revision proposes to change FSC-STD-01-005 V1-0 into a Guidance Document (FSC-GUI-01-005 V1-0), because this document provides guidance on the system, while the relevant requirements are provided in the Procedures.
  • Currently there are two procedures dealing with complaints in the FSC Certification Scheme: PRO-01-008 deals with informal complaints and PRO-01-009 with formal complaints. This has caused confusion in the past, as it was not always clear when a complaint was informal or formal. These revisions propose to create just one complaints procedure for all complaints within the FSC Certification Scheme (PRO-01-008). The exception will be FSC Policy for Association complaints, which will have a separate procedure: PRO-01-009 V3-0. A major distinction between both revised procedures is that only the procedure for PfA complaints (PRO-01-009 V3-0) requires the establishment of a Complaints Panel.
  • The revised FSC-PRO-01-009 V3-0 only addresses Policy for Association complaints. 
  • The current ‘Guidance Document for PfA Complaints Panels’ (FSC-GUI-01-004 V2-0) has been integrated into the new ‘PfA Complaints Procedure’ (FSC-PRO-01-009 V3-0). The aim is to provide all relevant information on PfA complaints in one document to improve access and transparency and to prevent inconsistencies. 
  • The Standard of Certainty, which is used as the minimum threshold by complaints panels evaluating complaints under the PfA, will now also become part of a procedure.
  • In the track-changes version of the draft FSC-PRO-01-009 V3-0, the text of the earlier version of FSC-PRO-01-009 V2-1 is indicated with normal numbering (e.g. 1.1 2.1), while the inserted text of the Guidance Document is indicated with a ‘G’ in front of the number of the section taken from FSC-GUI-01-004 V2-0 (e.g. 2.1 G2.1). 
  • To make the documents uniform and address inconsistencies, all terms and definitions are now only provided in the new Guidance Document (FSC-GUI-01-005 V1-0) and all revised procedures refer to the Guidance Document.
  • The Director of FSC A.C. is referred to as FSC Director General.
  • Minor textual changes (corrections) and corrections in the Spanish translation have not been marked in track changes. 

Your participation

We are seeking feedback from all FSC stakeholders (members, Certification Bodies, Network Partners, ASI and FSC staff), because the DRS is an important instrument that contributes to the integrity of the FSC Certification System.

The four new documents are provided in the section below as a track changes version and a clean version in which all changes have been accepted.

Please provide your comments using the comments form. Please use a separate form for each document and send them to Rob Ukkerman at r.ukkerman at fsc point org.

The deadline for comments is 1st December 2013.

Documents Without Track Changes

Documents With Track Changes

Comments Form