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Technical Updates

Thursday, 13 August 2020
Important New Interpretation Will Improve FSC Supply for Paper and Packaging, Value Proposition for Sawmills

A seemingly minor Interpretation from FSC International’s Performance and Standards Unit, which clarifies what is allowable under the most recent version of the Chain of Custody standard (FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0), has the potential to significantly increase the availability of FSC inputs for high-demand fiber-based products.

The Interpretation affirms that a certified mill, which is producing both lumber and residuals, can allocate all of its FSC credits to residuals, assuming it meets a few key criteria. In some regions, demand for FSC residuals – used to make tissue and paper products – is stronger than demand for FSC lumber. As a result, the Interpretation clarifies that mills can allocate their FSC credits in a way that functionally increases the volume of FSC residuals they can sell.

Specifically, the Interpretation applies to Certificate Holders that maintain multiple output product groups, such as lumber and residuals. One product group (e.g., lumber) can donate credits to another product group (e.g., residuals), as long as the products of the recipient group could be manufactured from the products of the donor group. For example, credits from lumber or logs could be donated to residuals, since sawdust or chips could be made from those inputs. But the credits could not be applied in the other direction, as lumber cannot be made from residuals. A conversion factor would be used when calculating the how the credits are applied.

For companies committed to increasing their sourcing of FSC-certified fiber, this Interpretation offers an important opportunity to increase the FSC inputs from their certified suppliers.

Find the Interpretation on page 34 of “Interpretations of the normative framework,” from June 30, 2020.