Restoring the forests and resolving social issues
Organizations that commit to this stringent process and implement change – from restoring degraded habitats and resolving community conflicts, to strengthening due diligence and community engagement procedures – are welcomed back into the FSC scheme.
So far, three organizations have seen this process through, delivering lasting, positive impact in the areas where they operate.
The process for remedy and reform
FSC is working on a standardized and replicable process for addressing environmental and social harm arising from unacceptable activities referred to as the FSC Remedy Framework. Each ending disassociation process will be shaped by the verified unacceptable activities and the related impacts on affected stakeholders and environmental values while the overall requirements for achieving remedy and reform remain the same.
The process for ending disassociation is composed of 5 basic steps:
01. Assessment: The organization's commitment to reform is assessed
02. Requirements are set: The organization and FSC collaboratively establish the requirements for remedy and reform
03. Implementation: The organization implements the agreed upon requirements
04. Verification: The actions taken by the organization are verified
05. Decision: The FSC Board of Directors take all factors into account and make a decision about whether or not disassociation can end
Why do we set more requirements than those already part of the FSC certification process?
FSC is a scheme addressing the needs of stakeholders, companies and forests in a fair and equitable manner.
However, when engaging in unacceptable activities such as deforestation and human rights violations, there has been significant harm to surrounding communities, stakeholders and to the forest.
FSC needs to protect the integrity of its system by ensuring that any organization that has been found complicit in unacceptable activities truly reforms by going beyond normal certification requirements and directly addressing past harms as identified by stakeholders.
Who’s involved in setting the requirements?
The requirements towards addressing remedy and reform are set through an extensive stakeholder engagement process. Stakeholders include affected parties, local and international organizations, and any other appropriate party.
Additionally, these requirements are posted to the FSC International website to go through a public consultation via the FSC Consultation Platform.
What kind of requirements are set?
A range of requirements is set addressing remedying past harm and preventing re-occurrence of engaging in unacceptable activities.
Depending on what violations occurred, the requirements set out direct actions, as well as establishing indicators for verification and addressing structural issues.
FSC cannot certify intent and as such establishes requirements that indicate actual, verified sustainable impact that has been agreed on by affected stakeholders to reform detrimental actions and behaviour by companies.
How do we check whether the requirements are being fulfilled?
After indication that the requirements have been fulfilled, an independent third party is called in to verify that this is, in fact, the case. This third party is a competent authority that can impartially evaluate conformance and is selected and approved by FSC in consultation with affected stakeholders and the excluded organization.
Who decides whether an organization can come back to the FSC scheme?
Only the FSC International Board of Directors can make the final decision to allow an excluded organization back into the FSC scheme.
If FSC receives a request from a blocked organization to have their blockage lifted in advance, FSC evaluates the integrity and reputational risk posed by the organization and decides whether to unblock the organization or not.
The core conditions that a blocked organization has to fulfill in order to become eligible for re-certification include:
- The organization has to take corrective, preventive and remedial (CPR) measures to address the false claim incident. Corrective measures are aimed primarily at stopping the further circulation of non-conforming products and related promotional claims. Preventive measures are aimed at preventing future occurrence and shall be developed based on a root cause analysis to be conducted by the organization responsible for the false claim incident. Remedial measures are aimed at compensating for any volume of false claim products released into the market.
- Non Conforming Products (NCP) requirements: The blocked organization will have to undertake actions to ensure that any non-conforming products are identified and controlled to prevent their unintended sale and delivery with FSC claims. The requirements (consisting of procedures and activities) for organizations to address non-conforming products, as defined in Clause 1.8 of FSC-STD-40-004 V3-1.
- The organization will have to pay a compensation fee to FSC after they have fulfilled the CPR measure and NCP requirements.