Procedure for the Development and Revision of FSC Normative Documents


Background

The FSC Procedure for the Development and Revision of FSC Normative Documents specifies the requirements and procedures to be followed by FSC for the development, approval and revision of FSC policies, standards and procedures that are normative for certification bodies and certificate holders.

The revised procedure was developed by a Technical Working Group and went through three rounds of public stakeholder consultation in 2011 and 2012.

The procedure is based on the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards (2010) and responds to recommendations by the FSC membership expressed in Motion 35:2008 (‘Motion to implement a formal procedure for FSC standard setting that will allow for realistic implementation of standards‘) and Motion 36:2011 (Annual Policy Manual for the FSC System, for use by accredited certifiers, National Initiatives, ASI auditors, both candidate and certified operations, and stakeholders).

Motions

Prominent elements of the motions that are captured in the revised procedure include the following:

Clearly defining the FSC Normative Framework (addresses motions 35 and 36).
The revised procedure establishes the FSC normative system to include and be limited to policies, standards, and procedures. Any substantive changes to policies, standards, and procedures are to be incorporated through the revision process and must undergo procedures captured in this document.

Explicit stakeholder communication and participation regarding development or revision of all normative documents (Motion 35).
The procedure requires publication of FSC plans at multiple junctures of the development and revision processes. This includes notification of a review, public comment periods for proposals to develop, revise, or withdraw a document, and public comment periods for drafts of new or revised documents.

Establishing an annualized process for implementing normative documents and a standardized timeline for review and revision of all normative documents (Motions 35 and 36).
The revised procedure establishes that all normative documents are to have a period of validity of five years and will undergo review (and revision where necessary) within three years of their effective date (the initial date of the phase-in period). Additionally, all new and revised normative documents will be published annually by October 1 of the year and will be effective no sooner than ninety days following their publication. Thus, new and revised normative documents will become effective on January 1st. The timeline between publication date and effective date allows Certificate Holders and Certification Bodies to adjust their systems to the revised normative document.

Status

The development process is completed.

Objectives

To provide a clear and unambiguous methodology to develop, review, and revise FSC normative documents, promoting stability and predictability within the FSC system. 

Further process

The procedure was approved by the FSC Board in March 2013 and published in July 2013.

Click here to read the FSC-PRO-01-001 V3-0.

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