Newsletter Stories

Saturday, 15 March 2003
An Open Letter to FSC Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certificate Holders

On February 6 and 7, 2003, FSC-U.S., FSC International, and FSC Canada, along with the Certified Forest Products Council, Certified Wood and Paper Association, Ecotrust, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Scientific Certification Systems, SGS, Rainforest Alliance, SmartWood, World Wildlife Fund Canada, and World Wildlife Fund US met in Dallas, Texas to discuss the current situation, and future direction for our respective efforts related to marketing FSC certified and labeled products.

Noting that standards for all US regions have received FSC-US board approval, and standards development is well underway in Canada, it follows that all parties involved should turn our attention to the market side of the certification effort. For forest owners and managers to remain involved in certification, and for new ones to be attracted to it, FSC certification must become even more viable.

To that end, participants came together in Dallas to examine what steps can be taken to advance the cause through marketing, and to determine how each organization can contribute. Conclusions from the two-day session included:

1. Since human and financial resources are limited, FSC believes that care should be taken to ensure that resources dedicated to marketing FSC are directed at strategic priorities.

2. Communications within the undersigned groups and between these groups and certificate holders should be more frequent, and clearer—this will reduce duplication and missed opportunities, and it will ensure greater accountability within the FSC movement.

3. A comprehensive FSC marketing plan should be developed and implemented. The plan should include:

a. An overarching marketing strategy.

b. Expected outcomes and goals.

c. Identification of key audiences andappropriate brand building approaches.

d. Priorities; near-term and long-term.

e. Tactics focused on transactions.

f. Roles and responsibilities for FSC and partner organizations.

4. While fulfillment of items 1 through 3 above is a shared responsibility, FSC (Canada, International, and US) should assume leadership in facilitation, development and delivery of the plan, consistent with FSC mission, goals, and objectives.

In response to these outcomes FSC will aggressively undertake a process to develop a plan within 3 months, with full consultation of FSC members from all chambers. Dallas participants agreed to contribute to the development of the plan, and to communicate efficiently and effectively with FSC to identify roles, responsibilities, and action items for our own organizations to move the process forward. The group additionally noted that expertise from professional marketers, not necessarily involved in environmental or forest products marketing will be essential.

This is an important time for FSC and for each of our respective organizations. FSC is ready to move to the next highest level. Thank you to the Certified Wood and Paper Association for their leadership in co-hosting the Dallas meeting along with FSC. FSC invites your input to this process and we look forward to continuing to work together to further the cause of responsible forest management.


FSC-Canada, FSC-International, and FSC-U.S.