FSC-US BoD Elections

We wrote an article about FSC membership in December 2016 in which we outlined and summarized the organization’s structure and decision-making processes.  One of our key points was the fact that FSC is a massive and influential organization that is run by a very small group of people. We think this is unhealthy and hope that FSC can find a better way to expand its membership someday.  In the meantime, those of us who are voting members (including MixedWood) have a special responsibility.

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ISO 38200: a fresh look at CoC?

One of the longstanding frustrations for businesses that are interested in participating in the markets for certified wood products is the confusing and overlapping rules and terminology.  The leading programs we work with – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) – are both nearly 25 years old, but we still, regularly encounter folks with questions about “the FSI or SFC Programs”. If the program names still confuse people, the underlying details are even worse.  What is the difference between FSC-STD-40-004 and FSC-STD-40-007? And what exactly is SFI Certified Sourcing (SFIS Section 3, Appendix A)?  The idea of “green” certification for paper and wood products is familiar and enormously successful.  But the details remain complex and confusing.


MixedWood has promoted the idea of “Easy Chain of Custody” since our inception.  We wrote a series on this subject back in 2014 and are proud of our reputation for simplicity and streamlining of the programs.  So why are we writing about the new, generic ISO standard for wood product Chain of Custody?  And why do we like it?  Read on and we’ll try to explain.

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FSC Controlled Wood: the US-NRA is here!

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.

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Looking for Trees in the Lumber Yard

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.


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FSC-US NRA: another draft

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.

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Some Lessons from a Burger Box

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.

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Reflections on The New Year

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.

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‘User’s Guide’ for FSC-US Nat’l Risk Assessment

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.

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