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Technical Updates

Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Support Available for Pesticide Policy Implementation

February 12, 2020

On August 1st, 2019 the revised FSC Pesticides Policy became effective, initiating a 12-month transition period from the previous pesticide policy, FSC-Pro-30-001 V1-0 EN Pesticides Derogation Procedure. The 12-month transition period represents an extended transition to the new pesticide policy and its associated Environmental and Social Risk Assessment (ESRA) system. The new policy aims to reduce or eliminate toxic environmental and social effects associated with some pesticides. FSC US is committed to supporting forest management certificate holders (CHs) and certification bodies (CBs) during this transition.

A pesticide is any substance, or mixture of substances of chemical or biological ingredients which aims to repel, destroy or control any pest, or regulate plant growth. If a pesticide is toxic, it can impact the soil, water, atmosphere, and landscape of a forest. In addition, toxic pesticides can also have an impact on the health of workers and local communities, as well as food and water. By identifying and restricting use of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs), FSC aims to reduce or eliminate their harmful effects.

A revised list of HHPs and the associated ESRA constitute the primary change in the pesticide policy and are the focal points for FSC US staff support. To facilitate policy implementation, FSC International expects to publish International Generic Indicators (IGIs) in early 2020.

Accordingly, FSC staff, in coordination with a small technical working group, aims to complete national-level ESRAs for several common HHPs by May 2020. These national-level ESRAs are non-normative and are expected to provide baseline conditions for the use of HHPs and a template for completing ESRAs for other pesticides.

FSC US values the opportunity to support CHs as they practice responsible forest management. Additional information on the pesticide policy can be found at the FSC US Pesticides Policy web page. Please note that while FSC US is developing national-level ESRAs for several HHPs, including recommending conditions for use, CHs are still expected to address their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system prior to using HHPs (and non-HHPs) on certified land.

Please contact Justin Meier, FSC US Policy and Standards Manager, for more information.

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