A global system having local positive impact

A global system having local positive impact

Global standards with local relevance

Market news from around the world. Select a point on a map to view news.

North America

Latin America

Europe

Africa

Asia Pacific

Good forestry saves the Cantabrian brown bear from extinction

The Cantabrian brown bear, one of the last native bear species in western Europe, is in danger of extinction. In its home region of Asturias in north-west Spain, the Asturian Foundation for the Protection of Wild Animals (Fondo para la Protección de los Animales Salvajes – FAPAS) is improving the bear’s habitat to preserve the species, while highlighting the value of its home forests.

Global Alignment

FSC network continues to grow

The growth of FSC certification in the past years would not be possible without efforts on the ground. FSC network partners deliver the shared mission by promoting the brand and engaging with local stakeholders. As a result, FSC continues to grow and is now present in 58 countries. 2020 saw the addition of work in the Adria-Balkan region, covering Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.

The income structure of the FSC network reflects the growing value of the FSC brand. Most of it still comes from FSC International, but there is an increase in the income generated from membership, fundraising, and promotional licences, showing the interest of stakeholders to be associated and involved with FSC.

Visualizing the positive impact of FSC

FSC collated single results from scientific studies to provide a comprehensive but easily accessible list of evidence of the outcomes of its certification. The result is an impacts dashboard, an interactive tool developed with the software Tableau. It allows users to navigate through the compilation of isolated data about the outcomes of FSC certification across the world’s forests.

2020 also marked the launch of a revised facts and figures dashboard, a map that provides a new way to see the growth in global forest areas certified to FSC Principles and Criteria, as well as worldwide supply chain certification growth.

FSC on the Map, the first FSC geospatial platform, was also launched. It allows users to delve into key data – such as FSC-certified forests, FSC members, and offices – in a more visual format, with four easy-to-use maps.

Continuing to support forest management auditors

For FSC, it is key to ensure an objective and informed auditing process of certified areas as far as possible. That is why the geographic information system portal was developed, enabling FSC forest management auditors worldwide to access relevant geospatial information, which they can easily combine with up-to-date satellite-derived data.

To further help auditors, FSC introduced digital audit reporting to the FSC system. This will enable FSC to appropriately access audit data and easily identify trends and impacts of certification and spot risks, and act promptly.

Thorough investigations of suspected violations

Following an extensive investigation by FSC and Assurance Services International into Calophyllum plywood transaction verification, six organizations were identified as having violated FSC requirements in 2020, trading uncertified plywood products as certified. This resulted in four organizations being terminated and blocked and two organizations suspended and blocked. 

Through this action, FSC demonstrates that its highest priority is maintaining its brand integrity, distinguishing responsibly procured wood and wood-based products. By thoroughly investigating suspected violations, FSC acts to ensure that the companies that misuse the FSC label stop doing so, and face penalties.

 

Focus on charcoal

In 2020, FSC continued fighting false claims in international charcoal supply chains on various fronts. To prevent fraud, FSC tested and applied an advice note (20-011-13) to Ukrainian charcoal-related certificate holders and applicants, which may later be expanded to other supply chains and countries. The outcome of all previous investigations and actions taken by FSC became visible in Namibia. Due to past integrity-related endeavours and international demand for FSC-certified charcoal, the FSC-certified area grew by 572 per cent over the past three years, reaching 1.6 million ha.

Controlled wood

In 2020, FSC initiated a pilot project for enabling cross-site and cross-border implementation of the percentage and credit systems, and the revised project certification standard became effective. At the end of the year, the FSC risk assessment platform was launched for organizations applying FSC-STD-40-005 Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood and certification bodies, giving them access to reference information on FSC risk assessments.

A working group was established for revising FSC-30-010 FSC Controlled Wood Standard for Forest Management Enterprises, and the FSC Board of Directors approved the start of the revision of the FSC Risk Assessment Procedures (FSC-PRO-60-002 and -002a).

Upholding the integrity of the FSC system

  • Two new Policy for Association (PfA) complaints accepted

    The complaint against PT Roda Mas Timber Kalimantan of the Harita Group included allegations of destruction of high conservation values and violation of traditional and human rights in forestry operations. The complaint against Pt Bukit Muria Jaya of the Djarum Group concerned allegations of significant conversion of forests to other uses. The case investigations were put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and FSC requested a moratorium put in place on any further conversion until the investigation could safely take place. The two organizations were asked to provide interim reports on progress towards achieving dialogue.
  • Next steps reached with Olam and Korindo

    FSC appointed SmartCert to conduct a retrospective evaluation of the alleged conversion of high conservation value forests and destruction of high conservation values by Olam International palm oil operations in Gabon. At the same time, FSC continued to work with Korindo Group to implement the conditions for maintaining association.
  • Two processes for disassociated companies

    FSC carried out a baseline evaluation on Asia Pacific Resources International, quantifying past significant conversion and destruction of high conservation values in forestry operations. For the HS Timber case, FSC appointed the Soil Association to conduct a verification evaluation of compliance against the FSC Conditions Framework in the process towards potentially ending disassociation.
  • New Policy for Association complaints procedure approved

    A new procedure for processing PfA complaints (FSC-PRO-01-009 V4-0) was approved in December 2020. It introduces alternative dispute resolution approaches, the use of external experts, and new options for sanctioning companies engaged in wrongdoing. As well as safeguarding FSC’s reputation, the changes will help FSC to focus on the best possible outcomes to complaints and allow for swifter processes. Following this revision, a new technical working group was appointed by the Board of Directors to complete the process of revising the FSC Policy for Association (FSC-POL-01-004). The revision is expected to run during 2021 and be completed in early 2022.

From Bush to Charcoal: the greenest charcoal comes from Namibia

Faced with extreme climate conditions, Namibian farmers have learnt to diversify their activities, especially by producing FSC-certified charcoal.

Namibia is a vast but sparsely populated country where farming is the second most common occupation after mining. Livestock and cattle husbandry are the main sources of agricultural income, but with the drought, it has become difficult for farmers to find grazing areas and water for their livestock. However, some Namibian farmers have learned to diversify their activities and during the dry season, they produce charcoal.

Labels and trademarks

Rising interest in promoting with FSC

FSC’s trademark service programme continued to grow in 2020, despite challenging market conditions. The number of promotional licence holders (such as retailers and brands) grew by 16.3 per cent, reaching a total of 1,246. By the end of 2020, 19 out of the top 50 largest retailers globally held a valid FSC promotional licence agreement. Also, a new web page to explain the benefits of promoting with FSC was launched.

Continued support for FSC trademark users

FSC's new trademark registrations for 2020 were based mainly on analyzed data from licensing activities from 2019 and projected licensing activities.

The trademark registration strategy intended to improve FSCs ability to act against violations and misuses of its trademarks, ensure that FSC trademarks were conforming with national trademark laws, enhance compliance when joining or subscribing to online brand management platforms and ensure that FSC was licensing trademarks that do not pause a risk to itself and/or its licensees.

  • There were 92 individual trademark applications submitted by FSC in 2020.
  • FSC received 80 trademark registration certificates during the same year.

As of 31 December 2020, FSC’s Trademark portfolio included (cumulatively) 749 successfully registered trademarks and 187 trademark applications yet to be finalized.

Changes to the MIX label text

As part of the controlled wood strategy, FSC worked with a technical working group to address the wish of stakeholders to change the text in the MIX label.

The label is changing from ‘[Product type] from responsible sources’ to ‘[Product type] supporting responsible forestry’ from January 2022. This is because products that bear the MIX label are made using a mixture of materials from FSC-certified forests, recycled materials, and/or FSC controlled wood. The original wording on the label states that all these components represent responsible sources.

However, some FSC stakeholders were concerned that this general claim for all components does not reflect the fact that controlled materials are not FSC certified. By stating that FSC MIX products 'support responsible forestry' the new label credits the materials used with contributing more broadly to the FSC mission and recognizes the role that controlled wood and mixing play in advancing that mission.

The new label will be officially launched in January 2022. From the launch date, certificate holders will have a transition period of 2.5 years, during which time they may use the old or the new label.

FSC certification portal

FSC launched the FSC certification portal to communicate any revision of the certification requirements and handle the electronic signing of trademark licence agreements. The portal allows certificate holders to receive certification requirement updates from both their certification body and from FSC directly.

Dealing with infringements

FSC continuously strives to combat unlawful and unauthorized uses of FSC trademarks by executing appropriate and necessary actions against infringers. We have a specialized team of in-house lawyers and trademark experts who work with global law firms, enforcement agencies, and service providers worldwide, to enforce and manage infringement cases and reports effectively. Also, our network partners have dedicated enforcement officers who deal with infringement cases on a day-to-day basis and combat infringing activities in their respective countries.

In 2020, the in-house team received 105 new trademark violation reports from a combination of escalation from FSC’s network partners, certification bodies, the online infringement reporting form and third-party watch services. These violations comprised a wide range of activities, including unauthorized trademark promotions on websites, social media sites, e-commerce platforms, and other channels.

Most of the cases actioned by FSC were resolved.