FSC is quietly continuing its work on the Online Claims Platform (OCP): an enormous and potentially very significant overhaul of its Chain of Custody program.  While they have certainly made a sincere attempt at outreach and communication, most stakeholders – including the companies who will be most affected – remain largely in the dark about the details.

I recommend that anyone with any involvement in the FSC marketplace take a few minutes to look over the descriptive materials found at this site.  You’ll find a bunch of material, including a brief video, a more complete powerpoint, FAQ’s, and even an attempt at an online discussion forum.

I wrote about the OCP earlier this year, and called it a mistake.  I still think it is, and view the lack of open and active discussion with frustration.  I’ve been involved in lots of discussion among FSC-certified companies and to date have not found anyone who welcomes this project.  FSC staff seem to think that everyone will learn to love their database after it launches.  Maybe they’re right, but I don’t think they have really considered the possibility that they might be wrong.

I was pleased today to receive a note from a colleague in the UK – another CoC practitioner with connections in the paper and print industry there.  He shared two interesting articles from Greenprint magazine (OCP Greenprint) and Print Business Magazine (OCP Printbusiness).  They suggest a more active and healthy conversation is going on over there.  I hope so.

How will this be implemented?

There is one, very big, unanswered question that FSC has not addressed yet.  How will this thing be implemented?  According to FSC, the OCP will become mandatory in the coming year – first for new certificates and later for everyone.  But what does mandatory mean?  Will the CoC standard (FSC-STD-40-004 v.2-1) be revised?  My sources tell me it won’t – at least not in the timeline being proposed.  That means that FSC will entirely overhaul the CoC system with an Advice Note.  If that’s the plan, I’d like to see some draft language pretty soon.  If that’s not the plan, I’d like to know what is.