Among the “hot topics” under discussion this week at the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 2017 General Assembly is Controlled Wood. This subject has been controversial from the moment the idea was introduced over 10 years ago. Readers of the MixedWood blog know that it has been a regular and productive topic for us as well. For anyone who needs a review, please click here for our summary from last November.
As we mentioned in our last post (just this morning), MixedWood is attending and participating in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 2017 General Assembly, underway this week in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Today was the opening session of the 6-day meeting, and we were impressed to see a crowd already gathered when registration opened this morning. Over 750 people are registered and more expected to join us later in the week. The participants are a remarkably diverse and engaged group of people. We are expecting an interesting and active week.
Regular readers of this blog may have wondered where we have been for the last several months. The answer, of course, is complicated. But one good excuse has been a very busy season for FSC Controlled Wood consulting. If you are among the folks still struggling with this process, please click here to see our last post on the subject.
Today’s subject – once again – is the FSC Controlled Wood system. A major transition is underway in the community of FSC-certified companies. The long-awaited transition from FSC-STD-40-005 version 2-1 (in place and largely unchanged since 2007) to version 3-1 is fully underway everywhere. Certification Bodies (CB’s) are actively updating their protocols and training their auditors. Certified companies are coming to grips with the decision to either adapt and accept the new standard or drop out of the program. We don’t have a good estimate for the latter group, but anecdotal evidence suggests it may approach 50%.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) published a long-awaited update to the important Chain of Custody standard earlier this winter. If you are a regular reader of this blog, and you have not yet looked at version 3-0 of the FSC Chain of Custody standard, we recommend that you do. Follow this link to the publication announcement that was posted on 1 February. You can download the final document here, as well as an interesting “crosswalk” document which compares versions 2-1 and 3-0.
The long, long process of updating the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC’s) important Chain of Custody (CoC) standard may finally be nearing an end. We learned, along with others at the regional meeting last week in New York City, that the Board of Directors has approved a final version of FSC-STD-40-004 v.3-0. Earlier this week, the staff posted a short Decision Record giving hints about what is coming.
Next week, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) will be hosting a “Regional Membership Meeting” at the Stern School of Business in downtown Manhattan. This meeting is the last of a series of regional meetings held over the last few months at selected locations around the world; including Bali, Bonn, Johannesburg, Moscow, Lima, and now New York City.
It has been nearly a year since the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) published the latest version of its Controlled Wood (CW) standard (FSC-STD-40-005 v.3-0). MixedWood introduced the new version, in an article written last January, this way:
This update has been in the works for nearly 5 years and the subject of seemingly endless discussion, debate, analysis, and hand-wringing. Two discussion drafts were released – the first in the fall of 2013 and the second in late 2014. This final, approved document – sadly – bears little resemblance to either of them. More importantly, because the FSC system relies on a complex series of interconnected documents and guidelines, this new, approved standard represents only a piece of an ongoing revision process for the Controlled Wood System that promises to continue for some time to come (click here to see lots and lots of detail).
We were confident that, by the end of 2016 the challenges of this important update would be well understood, and that implementation of the new standard would be well underway. As with so many predictions concerning the FSC, we were wrong.
By far the most consistent theme explored in this space has been the persistent and frustrating insistence on the part of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to complicate and confuse the subject of supply chain traceability. Our principal tool for supply chain traceability is, of course, Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. And at its root, CoC is simple, or at least it ought to be.