Comparative analysis of new version of FSC standard of forest certification

V. R. Kovalyshyn


The paper is about new FSC standard that is used in the process of forest certification. FSC standard is called 10 Principles and Criteria for responsible stewardship. First FSC standard was approved by FSC in 1994 with next versions of 1996, 1999 and 2001. During review and approval of each of the versions existing principles and criteria were being changed and amended with new elements. The last version is used already more than ten years for forest certification all over the world.

Some years ago FSC initiated development of new standard for responsible stewardship that was approved on the beginning of 2012. This initiative was caused by such factors as necessity of improving of forest certification process, enhancement of responsibility of forest enterprises, increasing of requirements and expectations of Society concerning forest management activity. Basic version of new standard was approved in February 2012 with some amendments done in 2014. The last version of FSC standard (version 5-2) was published in July 2015 to fix typos and it is expected that this standard will be implemented after development and harmonization of national FSC standards.

Comparative analysis of new version of FSC standard is actual and important for forest managers of Ukraine to understand what changes will take place in forest certification requirements in future.

During conducted analysis were found following features of the new standard. It consists of 10 principles that cover different issues of responsible forest management. There was changed number of criteria and at the moment there are seventy criteria in the standard.

There are introduced two new principles in the standard – principle 2 and principle 10. The most changes concerned principle 10 as in the effective version of the standard this principle regulates forest management in plantations and in the new version of the standard it covers wide circle of issues connected with implementation of management activities. Not without reason this principle contains the biggest quantity of criteria – twelve criteria.

There were added many new criteria to the standard and others were amended by new elements and requirements. New standard introduces SIR (scale, intensity and risk) concept that is especially important in the principle 6 and 10 of the standard.

There are some new specific criteria as criterion 1.7 that manages issue of corruption and implementation of anti-corruption legislation; criterion 2.2 that manages issue of gender equality in employment practices, training opportunities,    processes of engagement and management activities; criterion 10.8 that regulates issues of risks assessment and implementation of activities that reduce potential negative impacts from natural hazards etc. Special attention in the standard is taken to providing forests of ecosystem services.

Though in the principle 6 there is only one new criterion other criteria were amended by new elements and have additional requirements on nature values identification, environmental impact assessment and biodiversity preservation. The standard establishes lower parameter for conservation areas and representative samples of existing ecosystems at the enterprise – they have to comprise not less than 10% of total area of the enterprise. There is entire criterion that protects water resources and requires also remedy of water resources in case some damage occurs.

General conclusion is that the new standard strengthens ecological, social and economic responsibility of forest enterprises and puts additional commitments on the forest enterprises connected with activity of third parties. It is expected that forest enterprises will meet certain difficulties with implementation of some new requirements.

Key words: forest certification, FSC, standard, principles and criteria.

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