A new online forum has been created (the FSC Claims Forum) where interested parties can learn more about the OCP, view how it will work, and provide direct feedback and input. The forum can be found at www.claims-forum.fsc.org.
The move from a paper-based system will yield huge benefits critical to FSC’s credibility and improve the integrity of the FSC Chain of Custody system. The goal of the OCP is to provide assurance of the veracity of any FSC claim made on a given product, in a timely manner. For FSC system as a whole, the OCP provides an innovative and efficient solution to maintain and increase trust in the FSC brand, whilst positioning the FSC as a world-leader in sustainability certification. Further, the OCP will be a valuable tool for companies wanting to show compliance with legality regulations such as the EU Timber Regulation and the Lacey Act in the U.S.
To develop this tool, FSC is partnering with HF, a world leader in the design, development and implementation of supply-chain traceability and transparency solutions. Working with some of the world’s leading brands and retailers, HF’s expertise and technology delivers practical solutions for organizations throughout the entire supply-chain, from primary producer through to retail. HF's unique technology platform, known as String, will be the backbone of the FSC Online Claims Platform. HF is based in the UK.
Through continuous input from FSC stakeholders, HF is leading the effort to design a platform that will validate FSC claims and provide value to the FSC system, certificate holders, certification bodies and retailers. The platform is currently under development and it is the expectation that all certificate holders will be required to use the platform by 2014. Industry feedback will be essential to make the OCP work effectively and the FSC Claims Forum provides an efficient mechanism for all stakeholders to get involved.
The reason FSC is investing in developing the system is clear. The number of certificate holders has exploded in recent years, recently surpassing 24,000. The move online will provide assurance of the authenticity of a claim, protecting the FSC brand, streamlining CoC certification and offering tools to ease the effort to comply with FSC standards. The OCP will allow FSC Certificate Holders to make claims via an internet platform thus ensuring the integrity of FSC is maintained in a scalable way.