It seems hard to believe, but the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) announced late last week that the long-awaited National Risk Assessment (NRA) for the United States has finally been approved and posted for use. It’s hard to believe that it’s here. It is also hard to believe that it took more than 6 years to accomplish. The hard work isn’t done, but this is nonetheless an important and helpful step forward.
As with all things at FSC, the devil is in the details. That said, we think this is very good news for the wood products industry across North America. It should make FSC certification easier to maintain and more reliable. That’s good for the whole community. Let’s take a quick look at what is in the approved NRA, and what it will mean in the coming year.
When you spend most of your time and attention, mired in the day-to-day world of Chain of Custody (CoC) certification, it can be easy to lose sight of why we work so hard at all of this. At MixedWood, we are fond of pointing out just how much the FSC, SFI, and PEFC programs have in common. One obvious but often overlooked point is in their names. In our modern world of acronyms and abbreviations, our favorite “green” certification programs are most generally referred to by their initials. Not Forest Stewardship Council, but FSC. Same for SFI & PEFC. Have you ever noticed that these programs only share one initial in common? Not accidentally, that’s “F” for Forest. Something to think about.
It has become a bit tedious, and more than a little embarrassing, to follow the long, long, long path that FSC-US continues to follow in its quest to finalize a National Risk Assessment for the United States. The community received another update late last night, and we feel duty-bound to share it with our readers.
In our New Year’s post, we used a photo of a hamburger container collected recently from a nearby MacDonald’s restaurant. Our point was simply to demonstrate the continuing relevant of certified products in the commodity marketplace – and by extension the ongoing relevance of the FSC, SFI and PEFC brands. MacDonald’s buys a lot of burger boxes, so the fact that they have FSC labels on them is – by definition – a pretty big deal.
Our post from just before the New Year shared some important information updates on the status of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Controlled Wood program in the US. Our intent, of course, was simply to share and summarize the latest information available on this important topic.
It is both traditional and healthy to take advantage of this quiet time of the year to do a bit of reflection. 2018 was an active and interesting year for us and also for many of our clients. We can say the same for the programs we follow so closely. FSC and SFI continue to grow and thrive – sometimes in spite of their best efforts at self-destruction. We’ll have more to say soon on that subject. For now, however, we would like to share a handful of general observations and reflections; make a few timid predictions for the coming year; and offer some promises of our own for the coming months.
This post is to provide a quick update for the many folks who are following the ongoing drama of the FSC Controlled Wood program, and specifically the many companies who have implemented the latest version of FSC-STD-40-005 and are facing the end-of-year deadline for approval of the US National Risk Assessment (US-NRA).
The US affiliate of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-US) released the latest version of its Controlled Wood National Risk Assessment (NRA) for the United States just before the Christmas holidays, we wasted no time in calling attention to it with our brief posting on December 16. This document is very important to the whole FSC program, for reasons that we have discussed at length before, and surely will again. As is typical with FSC, the NRA document had been in the works for a very long time: over 5 years! And its consequence has been increased by the ongoing mayhem associated with the Controlled Wood program this year.
When FSC Canada released the discussion draft of their National Risk Assessment early last month, we were eager to look at the details and begin considering the impact it may have on the business of certified wood products here in North America. While the MixedWood blog is written from a clearly American point of view, we maintain a keen interest in our neighbors to the north.
The release of FSC’s official Risk Assessments for North America (US and Canada) have long promised to have significant repercussions on the business of producing and sourcing certified wood products. And when we say “long promised” we also mean “long overdue” as they have been anticipated for several years and their delay has – and is – causing far too much disruption and confusion in the community.
The writing in this space continues to be dominated by the long, painful process of re-inventing the FSC’s Controlled Wood program. The long, painful story continues and remains critical to the success of the entire certified wood marketplace. So we continue to follow it closely.
Our recent writing has focused on the release of a discussion draft by FSC-US – intended to be the last public look at their important National Risk Assessment (NRA) which is likely to be finalized sometime later this year. We hope you joined us in providing FSC-US with your comments. The official comment period for that document ended last week – following the very next day with a similar release from FSC-Canada. We are still analyzing the details of this work, but want to call your attention to it here, and share a few initial observations.