FSC International – Forests for All Forever

Facts & Figures

199,966,517 ha certified
38,542 CoC certificates
1,638 FM/CoC certificates

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FSC Implementation Plan
The implementation plan was created to help FSC take the necessary steps towards achieving the Global Strategic Plan


To meet the goals of the Global Strategic Plan, we must be innovative, bold, and aware.

Our implementation plan was created from the input of FSC members and our staff, and explains practical steps that will help us turn the vision of the Global Strategic Plan into operational reality.

FSC Implementation Plan 2017 Priority Projects

These are the 16 priority projects for FSC, for the year 2017. Click on a group title below to learn more about what that group does, their goals, and achievements to date. Or watch the Implementation Plan video to discover more about the process.

Risk-Based Approach to the Normative Framework

This group is responsible for creating a proposal for a risk-based approach to the FSC normative framework, to make it more predictable, cost-effective and outcome-oriented.

Group goals

  • Develop risk-based approaches (RBA) and tools that incorporate principles of risk at the level of national forest stewardship standards (NFSS) and for the FSC normative framework to increase the relevance of the certification system and to make it more cost-effective, thus reducing the overall cost for certificate holders while maintaining credibility and integrity­­­­

Results achieved to date

  • In October 2017 the group delivered and presented two concept papers at the FSC General Assembly in Vancouver on applying a risk-based approach to national forest stewardship standards and to the normative framework whilst ensuring continued compliance with ISEAL and ISO.
  • In March 2018 the FSC International Board of Directors approved a plan for incorporating risk-based approaches into national forest stewardship standards.
  • In August 2018, the FSC International Board of Director approved a procedure for standard development groups to conduct risk assessments on indicators of a national forest stewardship standard.
  • A draft discussion paper on risk-adapted auditing/ assurance has been presented to the policy and standards committee in August 2018.

Controlled Wood Strategy

This group is responsible for developing and delivering the controlled wood strategy for FSC, including clear definitions of controlled wood and articulating how FSC should approach it.

Group goals

  • Engage stakeholders through online surveys, regional meetings, global meetings, and public consultations.
  • Use this feedback to draft a controlled wood strategy, and present it at the general assembly (October 2017).

Results achieved to date

  • The team has attended the first global strategy meeting and several regional meetings, collecting feedback and incorporating it into new controlled wood materials.
  • Materials produced to date include: a podcast; a factsheet; a survey summary; and a discussion paper about controlled wood and how FSC approaches it.
  • Ongoing activities include outreach to network partners' communications staff.

Governance Review

The governance review working group finds ways to improve FSC governance and make it fit for the challenges of the next 20 years.

Group goals

  • Create FSC governance reform options.
  • Consult with members to secure their feedback on reform options, and source independent experts to provide their consultation.

Results achieved to date

  • Consultation on reform options ran from 10 July - 10 August through an online platform, with all documentation made available for download.
  • A series of three webinars were held to discuss the plans with FSC members across different time zones. Webinars were presented during July in both English and Spanish.

Ecosystem Services

This group is responsible for creating incentives for the creation and preservation of ecosystem services (water, carbon, biodiversity, soil, and recreation).

Group goals

  • One of the main aims of this group is to develop an FSC ecosystem services tool for emerging markets that can increase their business opportunities through ecosystem services.
  • A second goal is to finalize a policy framework for ecosystem services, a business model, and a strategic marketing plan for the FSC ecosystem services tool.

Results achieved to date

  • A consultation, Demonstrating the Impact of Forest Stewardship on Ecosystem Services, was conducted to highlight the impact of forest management activities on ecosystem services and create a base for credible FSC promotional claims.
  • Pilot testing began in May 2017 across 15 sites globally, and revisions to the aforementioned document will be made once the pilot testing has concluded.

New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification

Launched in 2016, the New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification (New Approaches) project brings together a transdisciplinary team of experts to design a certification system that both works for smallholders and ensures the integrity of FSC certification is maintained.

Group goals

  • Our vision is to improve access to, and uptake of, the FSC system by small forest owners and communities.
  • Together with smallholders and communities, we will identify local challenges and barriers to smallholder engagement, seek solutions to these, and create awareness.
  • We will measure success in terms of increases in: the number of FSC certificates; social, economic and environmental benefits from FSC certification; and smallholder satisfaction with FSC certification.

Results achieved to date

  • Regional meetings have been held in Tanzania, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Thailand to engage smallholders and other stakeholders, and discuss challenges and solutions.
  • A draft categorization of African smallholders has been prepared.
  • Three capacity building workshops and one calibration workshop have been in held in Africa.
  • A meeting to engage smallholders and other stakeholders has been held in Guatemala (Mesoamerican Forum).
  • Two new concepts have been designed ahead of the 2017 general assembly.
  • A project baseline has been established with the certified hectares and number of FSC certificates owned by smallholders and communities in July 2017.

  • A medium- and long-term communications plan has been developed.

  • A fundraising plan has been developed.

  • A field test to analyze the potential benefits of the implementation of the Ecosystem Services Procedure (FSC-PRO-30-006) for smallholders has been started.

  • One pilot test to analyze the feasibility of developing a new group model (Type III) that incorporates forestry contractors into group certificates has been approved by the FSC Board of Directors.

  • The proposal for the regular official revision of the group standard (FSC-STD-30-005) has been developed.

  • Field tests to examine possible entry points for forestry contractors in FSC certification have been started.

  • Field tests to generate recommendations for FSC on how to integrate and implement ‘continuous improvement’ in the FSC system have been started in East Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

  • A partnership agreement has been signed with the Eco-Innovation Foundation to assess, engage, and support viable participants to develop successful smallholder-based wood value chains, and for inclusion in the Good Wood programme.

Earth Observation

This group plans to expand FSC’s use of earth observation technology, which has the potential to significantly shift the way certification occurs, and to provide tools to broaden the reach of FSC.

Group goals

  • Create a validation tool to support conservation and restoration activities, driving finance and investment on the ground where it is needed.
  • Ensure that banks and other financial institutions, which directly finance or insure forestry operations, have access to a reliable tool that ensures their investments are sound.
  • Streamline the certification process, incorporating risk-based principles.
  • Create a simplified method of obtaining certification for smallholders.

Results achieved to date

  • The group has begun a 'transparent forests' project in collaboration with the European Space Agency and a consortium of providers, looking at a tool that uses remote sensing technology to support forest management certification.
  • The group is also actively exploring new partnerships, including providers of visual imagery, earth observation, and remote sensing technology.

Engaging members in the general assembly process

The aim of this priority project is to ensure members of all three chambers are well prepared for, and feel engaged in, the general assembly (GA). This is part of a longer-term goal to motivate members to get involved in FSC generally, and increase the number and diversity of members active in FSC processes.

Group goals

  • Hold regional and chamber-specific face to face meetings with members to promote discussion and sharing of information around the general assembly.
  • Host a digital platform for the proposing and discussion of GA motions.
  • Communicate regularly with members to ensure they have all the information they need to participate in the GA.
  • Inform members (attending and not attending) about events at the GA, as they happen.

Results achieved to date

  • Regional meetings have been held with members in all FSC regions; and a global social chamber meeting was held. These were used to discuss motion submissions, event preparations, and members’ needs.
  • A document providing guidance on how to submit a successful motion was prepared and distributed to members.
  • A digital motions platform was developed for members to submit proposed motions, and discuss these before they are finalised and once submitted.
  • The motions platform is hosted on a new GA website, which also features programme information, venue and logistics updates, and registration facilities.
  • Regular email updates about the event are sent to members.

Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement

This group was created to make FSC the preferred certification system for Indigenous Peoples globally.

Group goals

  • Provide a global platform for the collective voices of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples and safeguard them within FSC-certified forest management units.
  • Support the continued involvement of Indigenous Peoples in FSC certification.

Results achieved to date

  • The group has delivered a proposal for revisions to the permanent Indigenous Peoples committee (PIPC) that will secure resources for the articulation of Indigenous Peoples’ voices inside FSC.
  • The group established a new FSC subsidiary to be the secretariat of the PIPC, and to support Indigenous Peoples’ engagement to build their forest sector business.
  • A draft community forestry standard as per Motion 83 (2014) was developed and field-tested in communities across Latin America, ready to be piloted internationally, and be presented at the 2017 general assembly.
  • A technical working group was established to develop the accompanying normative framework and supporting implementation toolkit. A proposal for both will be presented at the 2017 general assembly for discussion.
  • The group finalised new guidelines for FSC certificate holders on free prior informed consent.

Supply Chain Integrity

The supply chain integrity programme supports the supply chain function of FSC – maintaining the organization’s credibility through streamlining response times, and developing tools used by retailers, stakeholders, and FSC itself to improve intelligence gathering.

Group goals

  • To secure the integrity and relevance of the FSC chain of custody system and brand as part of the FSC Global Strategic Plan.
  • To create a more efficient and credible verification system which uses digital and emerging technologies. In the short term, this includes: developing solutions for addressing false claims; auditing assurance; and cost effective certification.

Results achieved to date

  • Value chains with a high risk of false claims are being identified, investigated and addressed.
  • Coordination with Accreditation Services International (ASI) to implement transaction verification requirements and test the best methods and tools for meeting these requirements.
  • Development and testing of an FSC rapid response system for false claims and incidences.
  • A volume matching tool (with ASI and support from FSC), central incident database (including a rapid response system) and global brand protection toolkit are in development.
  • Penalties for false claims, fraud and counterfeiting are developed and included in the normative framework and trademark license agreement.

Market Transformation

This group was created to build a globally competitive marketing strategy and conduct market research with consumers, to align FSC’s marketing more closely to this audience.

Group goals

  • Implement a competitive positioning strategy and conduct consumer market research that will subsequently feed into a revised global brand strategy and subsequent global marketing and communications strategies, providing a framework for all markets to devise their own national strategies.
  • Emphasize the impact, value proposition, target audiences, and messaging of FSC globally.
  • Create marketing and communications strategies for implementation in priority markets to help deliver the aims of The FSC Global Strategic Plan.

Results achieved to date

  • The group is currently conducting consumer market research in key countries, to build a global brand strategy towards the end of 2017.

Human Resources Strategy

The role of the human resources (HR) team is to improve internal communications and streamline processes between the international teams and individuals, promoting responsible forest management with or as part of FSC.

Group goals

  • Establishing a HR strategy is a priority. This strategy will define and implement actions spanning: organizational culture and structures; individual skills and mind set; HR principles; and policies, procedures and services (with appropriate geographic scope).
  • Through the HR strategy, this group will play its part in international efforts to meet the demands of The FSC Global Strategic Plan.

Results achieved to date

  • The first draft of the HR strategy is in development.
  • The HR department has been working on a number of projects including: leadership development research; project management skills training; and drafting a definition of the philosophy and behaviours associated with leadership positions.

Global Coordination

As part of The FSC Global Strategic Plan, the Global Coordination group was established with the intention of unifying all offices in FSC under one strategic, decision-making structure.

Group goals

  • The global coordination project will deliver the model for engagement of all regions across the network, helping FSC to implement the vision of The FSC Global Strategic Plan, worldwide.
  • The model will ensure strategic objectives are met through a management approach throughout the FSC system globally, while including regional and national perspectives.

Results achieved to date

  • The project team has developed two draft proposals for global staff, which were discussed at regional meetings, as part of a consultation process, and at the global staff meeting held in June 2017. This proposal was developed in collaboration with Professor Ben Cashore, of Yale University.
  • Since these meetings, the global staff have agreed to the implementation of the global coordination group’s proposals.
  • An interim global strategic leadership team has been appointed, consisting of directors who will implement and further develop the agreed proposals.


The recruitment group ensures that FSC provides leadership capacity and skills in three crucial organizational roles.

Group goals

  • Recruit a Chief Operating Officer (COO).
  • Recruit a Market Development Director.
  • Recruit an IT and Knowledge Management Director.

Results achieved to date

  • A COO was recruited on 1 May 2017 and has begun engaging with FSC members on issues of strategic leadership, high-level advocacy and strategic alliances.
  • A director of market development was recruited on 1 August 2017 and has begun expanding commercial opportunities for FSC around the world.
  • A director of knowledge management and IT was recruited on 3 July 2017 and has begun delivering efficiencies and innovations through technology.

Solutions Forum for Intact Forest Landscapes

The solutions forum for intact forest landscapes (IFLs) is a constructive dialogue platform aiming to create further discussion within FSC around the relationship between IFLs and Indigenous cultural landscapes (ICLs), region by region.

Group goals

  • Maintain a platform for constructive dialogue on IFL protection, engaging stakeholders, certificate holders and government bodies, and connecting it to regional dialogue on forest landscapes.
  • Clarify FSC’s approach and progress on IFL protection and help to communicate this to a wider audience.
  • Identify the relations between IFLs and ICLs in a region-specific context and establish forms of dialogue with Indigenous communities on the topic of ICLs.

Results achieved to date

  • The group held a meeting to debate the protection of IFLs in a tropical environment during April 2017, securing active participation of governments from the tropics and their acknowledgement of the importance of work facilitated by FSC.
  • Further meetings to discuss IFLs in a boreal environment are arranged for October 2017 in Vancouver, Canada.
  • A charter for creating the FSC IFL solutions forum has been presented, including the scope and objectives of the forum, which includes all stakeholder groups and sectors, including governments.

Solutions Forum for Labour Rights

This group exists to create a space for cross-chamber dialogue on how forest workers’ rights can be promoted in the FSC system, and generate a broad acceptance of proposed solutions.

Group goals

  • Expand on workers’ protection and coverage, including and beyond the principles of the International Labour Organization Core Conventions.
  • Participate in standard development processes and find solutions to labour rights’ queries in FSC systems.
  • Liaise with dispute and grievance handling mechanisms and propose alternatives for handling workers’ issues in the FSC system.

Results achieved to date

  • The group has created a labour solutions forum with cross-chamber membership from regional offices, unions, and employers.
  • The group has also proposed tools and instruments on labour rights in FSC, and will present these for discussion at the 2017 general assembly.