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.