To reduce certification costs, FSC certificate holders can also form a group. Group certification makes it easier, particularly for smallholders, to become FSC-certified, as it enables group members toan economy of scale, that optimize production factors, strengthen their negotiation capacity, allowing them to share the workload and reduce the cost of achieving and maintaining an FSC certificate.
Group certification is regulated by standard FSC-STD-30-005, FSC Standard for Group Entities in Forest Management Groups, was most recently updated in 2021.
Smaller forestry units who are interested in becoming certified can feel burdened by the complication and costs of certification, so by grouping together with other units they can then mutually address certification. This helps spread costs of certification thus reducing it. Additionally, it alleviates administrative duties through allocation, allows for forestry contractors to be certified, and adds flexibility for users to adapt the standard to how they work.
Some sample users this standard is relevant for are as follows:
- Forestry contractor who is certified under the group can deliver FSC certification along the supply chain from the forest to the processing sites.
- Smallholders in rubber in Thailand who harvest rubber traditionally and are able to align under a single Group Rules and gain certification for forestry activities they have already been practicing for years.
- Family and small forests in the United States build a network to certify their timber as well as additional furniture supply chains.
Group Certification Standard and Toolkit
This standard specifies the requirements for group entities (the certificate holder) managing a group of forest management units under a single certificate, a process referred to as ‘group certification'. This standard is accompanied by a toolkit with supporting documents to build capacity for implementing group certification.
Learn more about local group entities in your country by contacting your FSC Network Partner.
Groups Standard e-Training
To support the uptake of group certification and enable more prospective certificate holders to learn the requirements around this feature, FSC is proud to announce its new e-training on forest management groups. The training reflects the latest standard regulating these groups, version 2 of FSC-STD-30-005 Forest Management Groups.
This e-training is free and presents interactive content in a manner that is accessible to stakeholders with any range of knowledge about FSC certification. It is not just helpful for stakeholders already in the FSC system, like certificate holders, group members or certification bodies, but also for forest managers, forestry contractors, etc. who would like to enter the FSC system by joining or creating a group for forest management.
Can a group fit your certification needs? Are you interested in learning more about the standard in general? Want to learn best practices for internal monitoring and how this tool fits the needs of small scale, low intensity managed forests? Check out the e-training today!