Wednesday, 13 July 2022
Paulownia Supply Chains Under Investigation
FSC recently announced the launch of a transaction verification loop (TV loop) on FSC-certified paulownia, part of an effort to ensure the integrity of FSC claims.
One of the fastest growing hardwoods, paulownia has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than even balsa wood, making it a popular choice for the cores of skis, snowboards and surfboards.
Being a high-risk supply chain, an FSC Advice Note 40-004-20 on paulownia came into effect in 2021. The TV loop will provide insights into the effect of the Advice Note on the FSC-certified paulownia supply chains.
TV loop refers to the investigative process established by FSC and its assurance partner, Assurance Services International (ASI) to identify certificate holders with non-conformities – especially false claims – related to a specific product type, group or region over a given time period.
The scope of this TV loop includes 67 certificate holders who trade in all types of products made with paulownia. Geographically, the TV loop covers 21 countries, with a focus on China as it has the largest number of companies involved in FSC-certified paulownia supply chains.
Beginning with the first phase of the TV loop – data collection and analysis – FSC and ASI are revisiting FSC-certified paulownia supply chains to ensure that the integrity risks identified through continued monitoring are recognized and addressed. Preliminary results of the first phase will be available in the first quarter of 2023.
In 2019, FSC and ASI launched a TV loop on FSC-certified paulownia, which revealed that between 2018 and 2020 none of the forest management certificate holders trading in FSC-certified paulownia had reported any sales. FSC and ASI uncovered systematic violations of FSC certification requirements by companies that were trading non-certified paulownia products as certified. As a result, these companies were subject to the termination or suspension of their FSC certificates and trademark licenses, or further investigations.
To ensure the integrity of the certification system and brand credibility, FSC and ASI developed and implemented the Advice Note on paulownia which states: “Organizations shall not include Paulownia or products containing Paulownia in their product group list, nor sell/label products containing Paulownia. The only exception is if the organization can trace the Paulownia carrying an FSC claim to its FSC certified forest management unit of origin through documentary evidence.”
For more details about the FSC Advice Note 40-004-20, please visit page 39 of this document.