Indigenous People

Ensuring the rights of forest-dependent communities

Indigenous people (© FSC A.C.)© FSC A.C.Principle 3 “Indigenous Peoples’ Rights” requires all FSC certified forest owners and managers to identify and uphold indigenous peoples’ rights of ownership and use of land and resources.

The Social Policy Program supports the integration of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and views into FSC policies, standards and processes in three main ways.


FSC has strict rules governing which organizations may associate their names with FSC, for example as members or supporters. 

The Policy for the Association of Organizations with FSC (FSC-POL-01-004 V2-0 EN) prohibits association with organizations that are directly or indirectly involved with unacceptable activities. 

This includes the violation of traditional and human rights through forestry and forest-product operations.


Between 2008 and the end of 2011, we carried out a major review and revision of the FSC P&C. The revised P&C were approved by a membership vote in February 2012.

During this review process the Social Policy Program specifically sought the input of Indigenous Peoples’ groups on the Principles & Criteria, to ensure their voices were heard.

Meetings were held in Latin America, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa, at which participants reviewed all ten Principles, with a special focus on Principle 3.


These guidelines are written with the revised P&C in mind but are, to a large extent, also relevant for the current P&C and are therefore meant for immediate use.

The guide provides a detailed methodology aiming to assist all parties involved in FSC certification safeguarding the rights of forest dependent indigenous peoples and local communities in or near FSC-certified operations.

This is a first version of guidance on a complex topic. FSC believes that practical implementation of this methodology is necessary to produce valuable results and information to feed into a second version, which is scheduled within 1-2 years from the publication of this version.

Please send all comments on the application of this FSC FPIC guidance and suggestions for improvements for the attention of the Social Policy Manager at: policy.standards at fsc point org.

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000100