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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
25 March 2015 (Bonn, Germany) – Today, the Dutch Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC) re-confirmed that FSC International conforms to the Dutch government’s procurement criteria for timber.
The extensive review conducted by TPAC was started in 2013, and included both FSC’s current international standard for responsible forest management, and the FSC Principles and Criteria, as well as its revised version (that FSC national standards have to be aligned with by end of 2015). “We are particularly pleased to see that FSC’s revised Principles and Criteria have been found to be in full compliance with TPAC requirements,” said Stefan Salvador, FSC’s Director of Quality Assurance.
TPAC also looked into the FSC system for certifying material flow throughout the supply chain, as well as into FSC governance aspects by assessing its approach towards standard development and accreditation.
While FSC systems conform to almost all TPAC’s requirements, the review highlighted some issues of partial conformance, including some aspects of current forest management standards, and the development of interim standards by certification bodies for use in countries where no FSC national standard exists. “The instrument of interim standards was deliberately built into the FSC system from the beginning to allow for certification where it is most needed, but it is now scheduled to be phased out by the end of 2015,” added Salvador.
FSC took immediate corrective measures when preliminary findings from the TPAC review indicated inconsistencies between FSC’s international and national standards. “Our experience with TPAC, and its stakeholder consultation process, has re-confirmed how invaluable stakeholder input and external scrutiny is for maintaining our system quality and performance on the ground,” Salvador affirms. “While it’s challenging to respond to extensive questionnaires and innumerable callbacks, we found the outcome to be well worth the effort,” he concludes.
As a member of the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling (ISEAL) Alliance, FSC regularly undergoes external assessment to best practices in the areas of standard-setting, assurance and impact evaluation. FSC encourages benchmarking initiatives to seek alignment with the ISEAL codes of conduct in order to avoid duplication of efforts and proliferation of umbrella schemes.