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FSC’s "Theory of Change", Intended Impacts and related indicators.
Describing the effectiveness of projects by mapping out the underlying assumptions


A Theory of Change (ToC) and the concept of defining an ‘impact chain’ is a way of describing the effectiveness of projects by mapping out the underlying assumptions about how they lead to an intended change. For FSC, this means: how do our efforts improve the environmental, social and economic management of forests?

A ToC is regarded as the basis from which organizations can identify their intended impacts and consequently for systematic impact assessments. FSC’s ToC is not a strategic plan, but the process of developing FSC’s ToC will help us to articulate FSC’s intended impacts, their contribution to wider sustainability goals for the forest sector, and the related pathways and supporting strategies required to achieve FSC‘s mission of ‘promoting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests’.

In the 4th quarter of 2013 we publicly invited stakeholder comments to the three documents listed below:

1. FSC Theory of Change Description
2. FSC Theory of Change Impact Pathway: this is a graphical visualization showing the pathways FSC chooses to achieve its impacts.
3. A table showing: 

  • FSC’s Intended Impacts
  • examples of broader forest-related sustainability goals (suggested by other organizations), which include forest-level issues for which FSC is used
  • FSC’s contributions towards these goals 
  • suggested indicators to measure this impact.

Below you will find the latest English versions of the FSC ToC description and the ToC Impact Pathway based on the stakeholder feedback. An updated version of the ToC graphic will be available soon. 

Documents in English (Version 2)

Documents en français (Version 1)

Documents in Spanish (Version 1)