Members decided to move ahead with efforts to solve a long-standing issue on the consistent interpretation of the global Principles & Criteria at country level, when national standards are absent. And a decision to look into the bigger picture of large operations is hoped to address some on-going concerns by key environmental members.
FSC General Assembly 2011
The General Assembly passed two motions addressing issues of credibility and impact of forest certification.
Interim standards - addressing consistency
On Thursday, a motion was passed addressing the issue of multiple interim FSC forest certification standards developed for the same country or region by different certification bodies (motion 25). This approach, used in the absence of FSC-endorsed national forest management standards, has led to inconsistent interpretations of the global Principles and Criteria for good forest management in specific areas.
Following the passing of this motion, FSC needs to review and revise its policies associated with the use of interim standards to secure improved consistency. The motion also asks FSC to establish a set of generic standards that will replace or provide a framework for CB-developed interim standards.
The bigger picture of larger operations
With a narrow majority of just 50.05% within the economic chamber, FSC members passed Motion 20 that aims to address landscape level impacts of large-scale operations. FSC has been asked to commission a study that will also propose a set of recommendations for best practice indicators and procedures.
The room was somewhat divided. Those opposed expressed concern over duplication of efforts by creating parallel processes. Those in favour explained that “in the same way that smallholders have special standards, we also need adapted rules for the largest ones”. One member explained how Russia only has large-scale operations, “They are not bad, they’re different”.
Grant Rosoman from Greenpeace explained, “It is an important piece of work for FSC to do – to address the particular set of issues relating to very large scale, where operations are dominant in the landscape, and therefore have a huge influence on both the local communities and the environment”.
Another participant expressed their support, “We are only looking at concession level, but the issues are larger than that”, and that there is a need “to define what is large and intensive”.