Background to forest certification and chain of custody
Background to Forest Certification HJ van Hensbergen SSC Forestry
Certification• What is certification? An assurance mechanism to substantiate a claim.• University Certificate is used to prove that a person has received the stated education.• Medical Certificate is used to verify that a person is too sick to work.
Who can certify?• Anybody!!!• Self certification• Peer group certification (medical, legal, professional foresters in the US.)• National certfication (BSA, SABS, SAQA)• International certification (EQMS, ISO, CE)• Certification should be credible. – Nowadays anybody can buy a PhD certificate from a variety of unregistered universities for less than $100 dollars on the internet. It is a waste of $99.50 because for 50c you can print your own with the same level of credibility.
Origins of Forest Certification• Certification introduced in response to unsustainable harvesting of old growth forests. – Ghana loss of 80% of tropical high forest in 50 years. – Phillipines converted from major exporter to major importer of timber in 30 years.• Major issues include loss of biodiversity, unethical treatment of indigenous peoples, sustainability of production. – Amazonian Indians. – Karen of Malaya & Burma – Spotted owl.
The trigger to certification.• Timber boycotts & protests. – NGOs saw these as ineffective – Retailers were concerned by the effect on customers. • Home Depot, Staples.• NGOs saw government led efforts as ineffective.
Failed International Efforts• UNCED Rio 1992 – Convention on forests• Montreal Process – Santiago declaration on criteria and indicators. Boreal and Temperate Forests. Reporting System. (Not a set of instructions on how to stop forest loss.)• Helsinki Process – Sustainable use of European forests• ITTA, ITTO – Corruption in governments• TFAP, UN, FAO – Institutional Failure
Creation of the FSC in 1993/94• Alliance of NGOs and Big Businesses – Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF, B&Q, Home Depot and Others.• Objectives – To promote sustainable and ethical forest management. – To promote the use of wood as an environmentally sustainable ‘Green’ raw material in the competition with unsustainable resources like Oil, Cement, Coal, Metals.
What is the FSC?• International NGO• Membership Organisation – Institutional and Individual Members.• FSC International Centre (Bonn) – FSC Board • FSC Secretariat • FSC AS • FSC GD• FSC National Initiatives – Develop National Standards – Support FSC in the country
How to achieve this• Develop a system which gives forest derived products from well managed forests a market advantage over the alternatives.• Develop a system which protects dealers in sustainable forest products from unfounded criticism of their practices from Social and Environmental NGOs.
Two Strategic Tools• Development of Standards for Sustainable forest management. – Define SFM at the level of the FMU.• Develop a system of Certification to recognise forest managers who are practicing SFM according to the requirements of the standard. – Independent third party auditing and emission of compliance certificates.
Purpose of Certification.• The purpose depends on who you are, relative to the process. – The certifying authority. – The certifying agency. – The business to be certified. – The consumer of the certified good.
Forest Certification Authorities• Rainforest Alliance (Smartwood).• Soils Association (Woodmark).• Forestry Stewardship Council.• ISO (14000 Series).• CertforChile• CSA• Swiss Wood (Comite de Bois Suisse)• Plus Forest• And more than 150 more
Certifying Agencies• Soils Association (Woodmark)• Societe Generale de Surveillance• Scientific Certification Systems• Rainforest Alliance• IMO• SKAL• SABS• CertforChile
Consumers• Primary Consumer Groups – Group of ‘95 companies in the UK• Individual Primary consumers. – IKEA (1m cu.m. solid 3m cu.m. composites) –B&Q – Home Depot• End users – Joe Public – Government Procurement Agencies • Local & National
What’s in it for me?• Certifying Authority – Improvement in the management of forests. – Avoiding compliance/Association with competing schemes.• Certifying Agency (Accredited Certifier/Auditor) – Money.• The Certified Business – Market Share, Image, Higher prices for products???• The consumer. – The feelgood factor, No requirement for due diligence.
What is certified?• ‘Forest Management’ certification. – It is the management of the forest that is certified. – The forest itself is not certified. – Products coming from a forest where the management is certified may be sold with the FSC label.
Who gets certified?• Managers of – Individual Forests FMUs – Individual processing plants – Parts of companies – Companies nationally – Companies internationally• Group certification for small producers.• SLIMF certification
Chain of Custody• System for verifying to the consumer that a labelled product originates from a certified forest.• System to prevent fraudulent use of the FSC label.• Not a system to track timber. Information about the precise origin of the timber is lost when it is passed to another link in the supply chain.
Certifying chains of custody.• Chain of custody certification. – Pure chain of custody. • Certification based on physical separation of certified from non certified materials during processing. – Mixed Sources (certified and uncertified products) • Based on accounting for volumes of inputs and outputs. – Proportional certification for mixed products, i.e. partially recycled paper.
Limits to Chain of Custody• An FSC label informs consumer that the source of the timber (or NTFP) is from a certified forest.• The label does not contain information about which certified forest it comes from. – Generally it is not possible to obtain this information from the system.• Some FSC labelled products will contain material from many certified forests.
FLEGT Timber tracking and COC• Fundamental difference between timber tracking and FSC COC control.• For timber tracking knowledge of the origin and location of every log or even piece is important.• For COC only risks of mixing, or substitution of certified and uncertified timber is important.• Requirements for timber tracking systems are theoretically much more strict than requirements for FSC COC systems.