In June, the FSC International Board was scheduled to make a set of final decisions concerning the latest version of the proposed percentage based claims (PBC) standards [these standards and other information on chain-of-custody can be found at www.fsc.org/coc]. While it appears that there is broad consensus on the International Board for most of the proposed standards, the June discussion focused on the controlled wood standard. Ultimately, a decision was made to defer a vote on the policy for two months to enable FSC staff to further refine the controlled wood standard (FSC-STD-40-005).
FSC-US had regarded the controlled sources standard as the most significant unresolved issue in this process. Prior to the June Board meeting, FSC-US expressed concerns directly to the FSC International Board. FSC-US maintained that, while very important, the controlled wood standards could be refined and improved. FSC-US proposed a pilot phase which would allow other PBC standards to take effect. FSC-US supports FSC-International’s intention to work on the controlled wood standard over the next two months, and FSC-US would like the standard introduced as a pilot test during its first two years of implementation and will work to that end.
FSC International has been very responsive to the concerns of U.S. stakeholders. The input from the two stakeholder consultations in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco helped to improve the proposal now before the Board. Many stakeholders believe the key to success would be proper implementation of the controlled wood standard. Stakeholders from all chambers with expertise in a variety of issues expressed the willingness to help refine the standard. In an effort to capture this input and expertise, there seems to be a consensus here in the U.S. on the idea of a two year phase-in period. Any further comments should be addressed directly to the FSC International.
The implementation of these new standards, as a whole, will go a long way to increasing the flow of certified wood products and reducing the burden of compliance on many chainof-custody certified operations. The importance of this policy to the FSC system cannot be understated, and FSC International, FSC-US, and other National Initiatives are working hard to make sure it is done correctly.