FSC makes progress on key problems

Background - 4 November, 2008
The FSC has created the leading model for credible certification of responsible forest stewardship worldwide. FSC is founded on collaboration and shared commitment amongst its environmental, social and economic stakeholders to create, maintain and further evolve a transparent and credible certification system for identifying well-managed forests and recognising their products in the market. The recognition of FSC as a leader in forest certification can be seen by its rapid growth.

The FSC issues certificates for well managed forests and was created to provide the means for corporate buyers and the public to identify products coming from responsible forest management.


We're concerned that with this rapid growth, a growing number ofcertificates do not meet FSC performance standards.  A majority of theproblems stem from the rigour of the audit processes of the FSC accredited certification bodies (CBs), the ability and capacity of ASIto monitor and correct any such failures.

Holding the Line

Greenpeace's 'Holding the Line' report makes key recommendations for improvement of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and its progress towards a new level of performance and credibility. The recommendations are centred on the need for a significant increase in Accreditation Services International's (ASI)(1) resources to ensure proper compliance monitoring, and the revision and simplification of several FSC standards and policies to achieve high consistent on-the-ground performance and resolve disputes swiftly.  Improving consultation processes in order to restore trust and encourage greater stakeholder engagement, and implementing tighter controls to prevent high risk companies from entering the system for greenwashing purposes, are also pivotal proposals. FSC agrees with over half the recommendations, and partially agrees with most of the others.

Since its inception, FSC has been innovative and adaptive in meeting the challenges to transform forest stewardship worldwide. However, this process needs to be ongoing and this report provides constructive criticism to contribute towards its continuous improvement.

Continue to be a leader

Over the past 12 years, FSC has created the leading global system for credible certification of environmentally and socially responsible managed forests. Its success and the reality of rapid growth and demand have lead to FSC facing an increased number of challenges. Problems havebeen suspected and observed by stakeholders and FSC members including in the rigour ofthe audit processes of certification bodies (CBs) and of FSC's keydelivery and control body Accreditation Services International's (ASI)ability to monitor and correct any such failures.

"We always welcome the input of our members and other stakeholders, and believe that this report will contribute to improve FSC," said Andre de Freitas, Executive Director, FSC. "We agree with most of its recommendations and in fact are already implementing some of them. For example, the 2009 budget has significantly more resources for ASI, FSC is now getting feedback on a new dispute resolution mechanism and since June 2008, accreditation decisions have been solely taken by ASI and its accreditation committee."

Greenpeace is confident that FSC will continue to build on our recommendations to strengthen its system, inspire its supporters and maintain its position as leader of global forest certification systems.

Download "Holding the line"