FSC: changing forest management practices: can the same market forces that have driven destruction of the world's forests actually provide an incentive for sustainable forest management?THE NOTION THAT MARKETS can drive responsible forest management emerged in the 1980s and was consolidated with the first General Assembly of the Forest Stewardship Council The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization based in Bonn, Germany. The Council's stated mission is "to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests". (FSC FSC
See: Foreign Sales Corporation ) in Toronto in 1993.
For some it seems counter-intuitive that the same market forces that have driven destruction of the world's forests can also provide an incentive for sustainable forest management Sustainable forest management (SFM) is the management of forests according to the principles of sustainable development. It is also the current culmination in a progression of basic forest management concepts preceded by Sustainable forestry and sustainable yield forestry .
The theory is that by providing a clear 'point of difference' in the market, between products from responsibly managed forests and those that are not, customers and consumers can choose which product they want to support.
Markets have responded.
More than seven thousand companies in eighty-four countries participate in the FSC system. Almost nine hundred forest managers in seventy-six countries, representing more than nine hundred million hectares of forests and plantations, have been certified to FSC standards.
FSC is not without challenges. The number of hectares certified is not the only measure of FSC success. Ensuring quality control and protecting the system's integrity provide a constant source of tension.
Equally, dealing with the practical problems presented by products using a mixture of sources (FSC and non-FSC) and growing the system in countries where forests have been under the greatest threat create significant challenges.
In its second decade, FSC is developing the experience and systems to work through these issues. In Australia, an FSC initiative was accredited this year to begin building market-based incentives for responsible forest management.
Having an impact
FSC is changing forest management practices. A recent study analysed 'corrective action requests' issued to applicants for FSC certification in Australia and New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. .
It found that the most consistent area where the twenty-five companies who have sought FSC certification have needed to change has been in the area of environmental impact.
The most common changes required relate to the protection of rare, threatened and endangered species endangered species, any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S. , the development of management plans to incorporate assessment of environmental impacts, and the use of chemicals.
Other changes included measures to address the maintenance and enhancement of ecological function, the protection of existing ecosystems, soil and water resources, and replicable monitoring of impacts of operations over time.
In order to meet the FSC Principles and Criteria, changes were also required to assess social impacts, consult people affected by operations, co-operate with Indigenous people, and recognise and protect significant sites.
Beyond these immediate changes required of forest managers, FSC has had an important influence on Australia's participation in the international trade in illegal and unsustainably harvested wood.
As a direct result of seeking FSC Chain of Custody certification, Australian Paper, a major supplier of printing and copy paper, switched its sourcing of wood pulp wood pulp: see paper. from 'undisclosed' Indonesian suppliers to certified suppliers in New Zealand and Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. .
Major retailers in Australia are also embracing FSC as a tool to manage their supply chains. Hardware retail chain Bunnings has begun buying imported garden furniture exclusively from FSC certified suppliers.
Even though FSC certified products are only beginning to develop a presence in the Australian market, the impact of FSC can be seen in the paper sector and the 'green building' market.
Paper customers, including book and magazine publishers, custom printers and corporations, are seeking FSC and recycled paper for their publications.
This is creating major pressure on Australian Paper who have sought certification for their mills and have been reviewing their sourcing strategies, including consultation with FSC and its environmental members such as ACF (Advanced Communications Function) An earlier official product line name for IBM SNA programs, such as VTAM (ACF/VTAM) and NCP (ACF/NCP).
ACF - Advanced Communications Function .
The company now has a policy that it will not accept wood for products that will carry the FSC label that does not meet the minimum requirements expressed in the FSC Controlled Wood Standard.
Certification of the company's Tasmanian mills was rejected because suppliers could not meet FSC standards. This has created a reason for commercial interests such as publishers to pressure Tasmanian wood suppliers to change their practices.
Similarly, the work of both the Green Building Council and FSC is helping to generate market pressure within the building supply chain that is providing opportunities for responsible producers and competitive pressure on others.
Household names such as Laminex and Carter Holt Harvey Carter Holt Harvey is an Australasian forest products company, with significant interests in wood products, pulp, paper and packaging. The company employs approximately 10,500 people across Australasia. have recently joined companies such as Alpine MDF (1) (Main Distribution Frame) A wiring rack that connects outside lines with internal lines. It is used to connect public or private lines coming into the building to internal networks. , AKD AKD Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology National Honor Society)
AKD Alkyl Ketene Dimer
AKD Automatic Key Distribution
AKD Aqeel Karim Dhedi (Securities; Pakistan)
AKD Dock Cargo Ship Softwoods, The Woodage and Hampton & Larsson as suppliers of FSC certified products to the building industry.
How does it work?
FSC is the only mechanism in Australia today that is facilitating dialogue between all forest stakeholders in way that is open, transparent and treats all participants with equal respect.
FSC is an international, independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation. The mission of FSC is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests.
It works by developing standards for responsible forest management, an extensive chain of custody system, an accreditation system for certification bodies and a distinctive trademark for buyers of forest products.
FSC forest management standards are based on ten Principles of responsible forest management (see www.fsc.org). FSC Chain of Custody allows credible tracking of certified wood through trade and manufacturing to retailers and customers.
Many thousands of products worldwide carry the FSC trademark as a symbol of assurance to customers that the product they are buying is contributing to the spread of responsible forest management.
There are three main FSC labels: FSC Pure (100 percent FSC certified wood); FSC Mixed Sources (a combination of FSC certified material, non-FSC certified 'controlled wood' or recycled product) and FSC Recycled (100 percent post-consumer recycled product).
The FSC governance structure ensures the organisation is independent of any one interest group by requiring an equal balance in power between economic, social and environmental chambers.
The Board of FSC Australia comprises members from Timbercorp, Paperlinx, West Australian West Australian commonly refers to people or things from Western Australia.
Specific things to which it may refer include:
Not plain sailing
FSC does not and should never pretend to solve all the problems of the world's forests. There are still important areas of forest the FSC system hasn't tackled and in most product areas FSC is still developing the scale to be a key influencer.
FSC also faces considerable resistance from conservative interests in the forest sector.
Within a few years of FSC being formed, more than 50 forest certification programs sprang up around the world to mimic FSC in many respects, but without the need to achieve consensus between economic, social and environmental stakeholders.
Many of these now fall under the banner of the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC PEFC Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell
PEFC Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes
PEFC Pan European Forest Council ), an organisation designed to endorse certification programs set up by forest owners without the same stakeholder consensus requirements.
Equally, FSC has its own challenges. Many stem from the need to hold a consensus position between a broad range of stakeholders. FSC deals with these challenges by establishing appropriate processes.
For example, chemicals continue to be an issue in forestry, particularly plantations. FSC asked its economic, social and environmental members to each nominate an independent expert to a Pesticide Policy Review Group (PPAG PPAG Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group
PPAG Public Policy Advisory Group
PPAG Patiënten Platform Antroposofische Gezondheidszorg (National Patients' Association, Netherlands)
PPAG Portable Protective Air Gap ).
The PPAG will provide expert advice to the FSC Board on requests from certified companies for special permission for the use of highly hazardous chemicals. It will encourage reduced chemical use, a process which has won the support of all chambers.
Another example has been concerns over the certification of Australian Paper's Reflex office paper. Environmental stakeholders have been concerned material from high conservation value forests may still find its way into Reflex.
Australian Paper is required by FSC to ensure any non-FSC certified material that is used in Mixed Sources labelled products excludes material from forests where management practices may endanger high conservation values.
FSC accredited certification bodies are required to audit Australian Paper's control of these issues. In addition, FSC Australia has organised a series of meetings where stakeholders have been able to discuss their concerns with the company.
The FSC Australia Board will be preparing a set of guidelines for certification bodies on the identification of areas where there is a major risk that wood may be being sourced from areas of high conservation value.
Ultimately, FSC is a process-driven system. Where shortcomings are identified, fair processes are devised to address those issues. This means the system can produce outcomes that retain the engagement of all stakeholders.
Michael Spencer is the CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of Forest Stewardship Council of Australia.