The FSC Mix label was introduced in 2004 and allows, under controlled conditions, the mixing of FSC certified material with uncertified material in FSC labeled products.
As the result of stakeholder concerns into the so called FSC Controlled Wood system a comprehensive investigation was undertaken, the results of which were collated in the discussion paper FSC Evaluation of Controlled Wood (Discussion Draft), June 2011.
The investigation revealed the following key findings:
- Lack of common understanding about the purpose and intent of Controlled Wood system
- Lack of agreement around the Risk Assessment process, field verification in cases of 'unspecified risk' as well as issues around the qualification of Certification Body auditors, functioning of the CW database, documentation and consultation
- Concerns around whether despite the phenomenal market growth for FSC products whether the FSC Mix label has led to market confusion
- Concerns around when and how companies should transition out of FSC Mix products
- Differing views around the impact of CW system on responsible forest management as a whole, where some stakeholders hold the view that allowing more products to be labeled as FSC has directly led to an increase in FSC certified forests and others supporting the view that Controlled Wood has not created adequate incentives for companies to move forest managers to FSC certification
At the June 2011 General Assembly, the FSC Membership passed Policy Motion 51: Strengthening the Controlled Wood System. This included a decision to:
- Phase-out company-developed risk assessments to be replaced by FSC-approved National Risk Assessments
- A review and revision of existing company-developed Risk Assessments, with appropriate action taken where needed
- A revision of the Controlled Wood standard with a focus on the (Annex 3) process for sourcing wood from areas of “unspecified risk”
Due to the inter-linkages between the various Controlled Wood standards all relevant documents are under revision, including the procedure for National Risk Assessment development.
Until the ongoing revision process has been completed, interim advice notes on issues relating to existing requirements have been introduced. These will be effective until the end of the formal revision of Controlled Wood system.
A chamber-balanced Technical Committee was established in November 2011 to provide strategic input to all aspects of this revision process.
ASI analysis of risk assessments by companies
Following Motion 51: Strengthening the Controlled Wood System, FSC requested ASI to undertake a review of risk assessments conducted by companies that had been identified as likely to be non-conformant with the relevant Controlled Wood standard FSC-STD-40-005 V2-1. The outcomes of the review and follow up actions are summarized in a report by ASI that can be downloaded here.
Pilot testing the Controlled Wood standard
The revised draft Controlled Wood Chain of Custody standard (FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0) is being implemented in practice for the purpose of pilot testing. The aim is to assess the workability and auditability of the standard, with a particular focus on requirements for the mitigation of risk by organizations wanting to source Controlled Wood from areas designated as ‘specified risk’ in a risk assessment. Read more here.
Previous field tests of draft Controlled Wood standards were conducted in 2014, in Australia, Romania and Vietnam. Read more here.
Contact Joanna Nowakowska at j.nowakowska at fsc point org