Almost a year ago, the FSC Policy and Standards unit (PSU) released a new procedures document (FSC-PRO-20-001 v.1-0) which was intended to guide the implementation of one of the new requirements inserted into the latest version of its principal Chain of Custody (CoC) standard (FSC-STD-40-004 v.2-1). This should have been a simple and straightforward process, but – as they so often do – FSC managed to over-complicate the situation. They included in their procedure a rather poorly-worded, but mandatory, self-declaration statement (Annex B) which includes language considered by some folks to be contrary to US labor law (USCIB summery – US law).
I began writing about this matter back in October of last year. I provided a fairly complete description of the situation later in the month, and several more updates – here, and here. The basic story remains quite simple: a large and influential group of US companies (including some clients of MixedWood) are unwilling to sign the FSC self-declaration document. FSC is unwilling to lose the support of these companies, but also unwilling (or perhaps unable) to consider the small changes in wording required to allow them to sign. The result: stalemate.
Just last week I received the “official” word of a decision I had heard rumors of for about a month. The big news? Another delay. Here is a copy of the most recent communication from PSU to accredited certifiers: FSC PSU ext. to 12.31.13.rtfd.
This situation is becoming embarrassing. It could be simply and effectively resolved in an hour, but has dragged on for almost a year. Let’s get it fixed, OK?