FSC Extends Controlled Wood Deadline

FSC United States and FSC International have releaed statements noting that the phase out date for company developed risk assessments has been extended one year to December 31, 2015. You can read FSC-US and FSC-IC's statements below.

FSC International has extended the implementation timeframe for the new Controlled Wood system.  The phase out date for company-developed Risk Assessments (the current system in the US and Canada) is now  December 31 2015.

The rationale for the FSC IC Board decision was to align the use of company-developed risk assessments with the projected date of implementation of the revised Controlled Wood Standard (FSC-STD-40-005). The revised Standard has undergone two public consultations and is currently undergoing final processes within the Controlled Wood Technical Committee.  

The announcement from FSC International is attached below.  FSC-US intends to have a National Risk Assessment in place by the end of 2015 so that Interim Risk Assessments will not apply in the US. Interim Risk Assessments are a stop-gap measure created for situations where the new Controlled Wood system is in effect but an approved National Risk Assessment (NRA) is not yet available. 

Our intention is that certificate holders making Controlled Wood claims must comply with requirements in the US National Risk Assessment starting in 2016.

Please feel free to contact Keith Stagg, Policy & Standards Manager, with any questions that you may have.

Keith Stagg

Dear FSC Network Partners,

The FSC Board of Directors has extended the phase-out date for company risk assessments for sourcing FSC Controlled Wood (CW) from 31 December 2014 to 31 December 2015.

The decision was made on the basis of recommendations from the CW working bodies responsible for the ongoing revision of the CW system.

These recommendations took the following into account:

  • stakeholder feedback received during the latest rounds of stakeholder consultation on the revised CW normative documents;
  • additional feedback from discussions during CW side meetings at the recent FSC General Assembly; and
  • agreement between members of the chamber-balanced CW Technical Committee responsible for the revision of the CW system.

At present, certified organizations may develop their own risk assessments for sourcing CW in areas where FSC National Risk Assessments (NRAs) have not been approved, following the requirements of the FSC ‘Controlled Wood – Chain of Custody’ (CW-CoC) standard FSC-STD-40-005 V2-1. The revised version of this standard will remove this option. Instead, Interim Risk Assessments (that follow the revised, strengthened requirements for risk assessment) will be allowed, but only until the end of 2017. After this, FSC risk assessments will be the only source of risk designations for sourcing CW.

The implementation of this revised standard will be postponed so that certificate holders and certification bodies have more time to adapt their operations to the revised standard, which contains substantial changes that significantly strengthen the current requirements. This also allows more time for field testing of the revised standards. The revised standard is planned to be made effective by July 2015.

Details on the implementation of the revised standard, and rules for transitioning to it from the current standard, are being discussed and will be decided upon at a later date. More communication will follow when decisions are made.

A brief note on transition possibilities

While the mode of transition is yet to be decided, two main options for transitioning to the revised CW-CoC standard are currently being considered. The first follows the regular (1 year) transition period used in the FSC system. This means that all organizations will have to be audited according to the revised requirements within one year of the effective date of the revised standard (i.e. by July 2016). Within this transition period, the new phase-out date for company risk assessments will pass. After this date (when still using the current standard), sourcing in areas of ‘unspecified risk’ in approved NRAs and areas not covered by the NRAs would only be allowed if field verification (without a risk assessment process) of the supply area is conducted. The second option being discussed is to shorten the transition period of the revised standard from 12 to 6 months, so that it must be implemented by the phase-out date for company risk assessments (i.e. 31 December 2015).

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