It’s been well understood and acknowledged for many years that the chief weakness of the FSC certification system has been the major variances in application around the world. Although a single set of Principles and Criteria (P&C) apply worldwide, the on-the-ground interpretation of the P&C has been left to the various national affiliates around the world. Where national affiliates haven’t yet written local sets of indicators (still most of the world), the Certification Bodies have been forced to make do with ad hoc sets of indicators. Not a good situation.
To their credit, FSC is working hard to remedy this situation. A new version of the P&C was approved last year, and work has begun on a uniform set of International Generic Indicators (IGI). The IGI will entirely eliminate the CB-generated interim indicators (definitely a good move) and apparently “guide and harmonize” the development of regional indicators by national initiatives.
The good news is that this work is fully engaged and underway. You can follow it at this special website. The bad news is that this process will not be an easy one.
I have reviewed the first draft and am looking forward to more output in the coming days. Watch this space for more on the subject. This could take a while.