The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is very proud of the fact that it’s program is among the most successful “green” certification standards in history. Evidence of this impressive fact is the “Facts and Figures” information, displayed prominently on the FSC’s website. Prominent in this display is the fact that over 28,000 companies have acquired a FSC Chain of Custody certificate.
We have written extensively about FSC CoC. Our basic position has always been this: The FSC standard is overly complex and ought to be simplified. FSC staff – along with a few key stakeholders – have been raising doubts about whether the system is sufficiently rigorous.
A new, updated version of the FSC CoC standard has been in the works for over 2 years. More recently, an initial, public draft has been promised for months. Officially, however, nothing has been seen. Unofficially the conversation has become quite active.
In recent weeks, a draft of FSC-STD-40-004 v.3-0 has been circulating online among a limited, but clearly growing body of stakeholders. The discussion seems to be focused on new elements in a section entitled “Transaction Verification” – closely related to the Online Claims Platform project.
The time has come for this private, exclusive conversation to become transparent. There are nearly 28,000 companies who have a direct and immediate interest in what is being discussed. They deserve to be included.
FSC needs to decided whether it is serious in its intention to substantially update its CoC standard. If so, then the time has come for an open and frank discussion about the details. It will be challenging, but it cannot be avoided. Let’s get started.