Centralized National Risk Assessment

The Centralized National Risk Assessment (CNRA) is a tool to increase the global coverage of FSC risk assessments for sourcing Controlled Wood (CW).

The sourcing of CW using risk assessment will eventually be completely dependent on the use of National Risk Assessments (NRAs), however the development of these has been slowed by the wait for revised risk assessment requirements to be finalized and limited capacities to develop NRAs. Therefore, in November 2013 the FSC Board of Directors approved changes to the way that CW risk assessments will be managed.

As a result, the CNRA was introduced to bridge the gap between the current and revised risk assessment processes, determining low-risk geographic areas where CW may be more easily sourced, in priority countries. Full NRA processes will follow later on, adding newly introduced elements, including specified risk designations and measures for risk mitigation.


The primary objective of the CNRA is to identify low risk areas for each of the five CW categories in priority countries – the top 20 countries for CW sourcing globally. This is intended to support the implementation of the CW system in several ways. It will:

  • reduce the effort needed by certified organizations to source CW from low risk areas;
  • reduce uncertainty for certified organizations that need to make long-term CW sourcing plans by identifying areas where sourcing will not be restricted;
  • deliver harmonized international risk determination; and
  • engage FSC network partners (NP) in determining low risk areas and thereby initiate and stimulate the process of full NRA development.

How does the CNRA fit in with a full NRA?

The CNRA is the first phase of implementing the revised CW system. It will form the basis for a second phase – the full NRA process – which will add risk specification and control measures to the low risk assessment contained in the CNRA.

In some countries, there are ongoing NRA development processes being conducted according to the current framework. It is planned that these will be adapted to the CNRA, and followed by a full NRA process at a later stage, however as the CNRA is a separate process mandated by decisions of the membership and the board of directors, it supersedes any ongoing processes.

Who is developing the CNRA and through what process?

The CNRA is overseen by FSC International’s policy and standards unit (PSU), in cooperation with the network unit. The identification and assessment of low risk areas is outsourced to external experts with specific expertise in the relevant CW category.

The consultants selected so far are:
Category 1 and 5 – NEPCon. NEPCon has great experience in legality assessment and timber regulations.
Category 2 – Wolfgang Richert Consulting and Leo van der Vlist. These experts have been cooperating with FSC on FPIC issues.
Category 3 – Proforest and HCV Resource Network. These experts have been working on HCV issues for a number of years and their “common guidance” for HCV are referenced in both the second draft of IGI and in the NRAF.
Category 4 – Selection is ongoing and will await the completion of the pilot test for spatial analysis of conversion thresholds.

NPs participate in the risk assessments by working directly with consultants on the risk assessment and/or by providing feedback to the consultants’ outcomes after the assessment has been made. The assessments made during the CNRA include public consultations.

Final outcomes will be approved by a CW technical committee that includes representatives from each of the three FSC membership chambers.

This process will be implemented as follows:

  • Low risk assessments carried out
  • Verification of low risk assessments by NPs that have confirmed their engagement in the process
  • Verification and approval of low risk assessments by CWTC and PSU
  • Synthesis of findings into an international CNRA map
  • CNRA map released for international public consultation

According to the allowance for Interim Risk Assessment development, as proposed in the second draft of the standard FSC-STD-40-005, the CNRA project will continue until 31 December 2017. However, the CNRA is still expected to be completed as soon as possible.

Schedule for the CNRA

Click here for the current timetable of the CNRA for all 53 priority countries. It includes information on engagement in the process at the national level, the (planned) start and completion dates of the assessment for each CW category, and whether a consultant is needed to conduct a particular assessment.

Leading the way

As a leader within the sustainability and certification sectors FSC procedures are often seen as best practice, and we regularly receive requests for partnerships during the development of these procedures. Partnerships help pool resources and avoid duplication, and organizations can then adapt FSC procedures for their own purposes.

For the development of the CNRA, FSC is exploring the possibility of partnering with other organizations (without endorsing their own procedures or standards) that have similar risk assessment needs. Once published, our CNRA procedures can be used by any organization without restriction.

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Contact Joanna Nowakowska at j.nowakowska at fsc point org

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