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FSC Controlled Wood Standard Approved and Published
Friday, 18 December 2015
On 11 November 2015 in Helsinki, Finland, the Forest Stewardship Council Board of Directors approved the Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood (FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0). The standard has now been published on the FSC International website, and it is planned that it will enter into force on 1 July 2016.
The approved standard – which can be downloaded here – outlines the requirements for organizations with an FSC chain of custody certificate to implement a due diligence system to avoid material from unacceptable sources which cannot be used in FSC Mix products. Unacceptable sources are the five categories of controlled wood, which are defined in the standard.
Why and how was the standard revised?
At the 2011 FSC general assembly, members passed Motion 51, Strengthening the Controlled Wood System. This triggered the revision of the standard.
The process for revisions followed The Development and Revision of FSC Normative Documents (FSC-PRO-01-001). A technical committee was formed to guide the process, with balanced representation from the economic, environmental and social chambers. Drafts of the revised standard underwent two rounds of public consultation, as well as field tests in Australia and Romania in 2014, and in Canada and Russia in 2015.
What are the main changes to the revised standard?
The revised standard introduces a due diligence approach for sourcing controlled wood. Organizations are now required to ensure that the material they use is controlled, by: implementing a due diligence system for obtaining information on their supplies; conducting a risk assessment (using an FSC risk assessment procedure); and mitigating the risk of sourcing unacceptable material (related to the origin of the material itself, and of mixing in the supply chain).
Other important changes include:
- strengthened requirements for transparency via public reporting
- more detailed requirements for the treatment of stakeholder feedback and complaints
- simpler and clearer requirements for information on the origin of material
- new requirements for using FSC risk assessments, and for organizations to conduct risk assessments where no FSC risk assessment exists
- new requirements for risk mitigation, which allow organizations much greater flexibility in how they mitigate specified risks of sourcing unacceptable material at a low level
- specific requirements for mitigating risk related to the rights of Indigenous Peoples and traditional peoples, and threats to intact forest landscapes
- advice notes on the current standard have been integrated into the revised standard, as relevant, and others will eventually be removed from the FSC normative framework.
With the standard finalized and published, FSC will shift its focus to communication about the revised standard and providing educational and training materials designed to help stakeholders understand the FSC controlled wood system and due diligence. This will include fact sheets and webinars, and more details will follow in early 2016.
Update on related processes
The decisions made by the board during the approval of the revised controlled wood standard related to a number of other important documents and processes.
- FSC National Risk Assessment Framework (FSC-PRO-60-002a) will undergo a minor revision to align it with the approved standard FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0, and to improve clarity, based on experiences with FSC risk assessments that have already been undertaken.
- The FSC Secretariat will work with the Board’s strategic planning committee to design the controlled wood strategy for 2016. The controlled wood strategy will not affect the standard that has just been approved, but will instead be used to guide future revisions. The revised standard FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0 is a first step in improving the FSC controlled wood system.
- The finalization of the major revision of Controlled Wood Standard for Forest Management Enterprises (FSC-STD-30-010 FSC) has been put on hold and will only be undertaken after the controlled strategy process is completed. Instead, a minor, technical revision of the current standard, and its accreditation standard (used by certificate holders to evaluate an organization’s conformity with requirements) will be conducted as an interim solution.
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