Risk Assessment in a River Valley

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.

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FSC-Canada: Nat’l Risk Assessment Draft

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.

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US-NRA: Focusing on Control Measures

The US affiliate of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-US) recently released a discussion draft of a very important National Risk Assessment (US-NRA).  We consider this a very important document – the result of over 5 years of work – and likely to have a significant influence on certified wood markets throughout North America and indeed the world.

As is their practice, FSC-US has posted the US-NRA publicly and is inviting comment from all interested stakeholders.  This should include everyone who buys, sells, and trades wood and paper products in the US and Canada.  FSC needs to hear from us.  Please help spread the word.

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Some housekeeping

Our last post – published just yesterday – included several links to the FSC Document Center which readers may have found confusing.  We discovered, after posting, that the version of the Controlled Wood Interpretations Document available in the Document Center was not the most current version and (importantly) did not include the specific Interpretation that we were discussing and criticizing .

The post has since been corrected and updated (click here to read).

Thanks, as always, for your attention and feedback.  Please share and comment.

More FSC-CW Implementation Chaos

In our last post, we were pleased and excited to finally begin discussing the long-awaited details of the Forest Stewardship Council’s National Risk Assessment for the USA.  The US-NRA is quite possibly the most significant new policy document produced by FSC’s US affiliate in years.  It is important, still in need of work, and worth giving our attention to.

We hoped to continue and add to our writing about the US-NRA this week, but we find that we cannot.  We will return to that subject soon. For now, we must address a more pressing concern.  In December, we wrote yet another installment in the long, ugly story of Controlled Wood implementation.  At the heart of this story is the “Category 3 Problem” for companies who rely on Company Risk Assessments (CRA’s).  Our hope then was that the publication of the US-NRA would finally resolve all of these problems.  Perhaps someday it might do that, but not yet.

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‘User’s Guide’ for FSC-US Nat’l Risk Assessment v.2

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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Still Looking for a Better Way

A colleague and regular reader (AH) sent us an interesting link this week.  We think it is worth sharing and reflecting on.  It seems to offer another, creative and promising look at simplifying the confusing world of wood product certification.   Continue reading

Implementing Controlled Wood v.3-1

We were pleased in October, when the FSC 2017 General Assembly reached a sensible decision to avoid further trouble and  “Do No Harm” on the contentious and complex topic of Controlled Wood.    This decision, however, did nothing to solve the real problems that this program continues to struggle with to this date.

The practical problems of the Controlled Wood program have been piling up recently, as we approach the implementation deadline for FSC-STD-40-005 v.3-1.  This deadline, like so many things in the FSC world, was recently “adjusted” to provide a bit more flexibility.  Click here if you are interested in the details.  They are interesting, but not central to today’s topic.

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Grassroots in Maine

This brief post is to share some good news, and to offer well-deserved congratulations to some of our hard working colleagues who do the real work that makes forest sustainability programs possible.

Last month, at the Annual Conference of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program, the Maine SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) was recognized with an Achievement Award for their exceptional outreach and education programs. Continue reading

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