Protecting forest workers’ rights
Protecting workers’ rights as per the International Labour Standards, has always been part of FSC’s certification requirements for more than 1,700 forest management certified operations. These requirements include fundamental elements on the effective abolition of child labour, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, respect of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
Principle 2 of the FSC’s Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship is dedicated to safeguarding the protection of workers by specifically upholding their rights and maintaining or enhancing their social and economic welfare.
Ensuring worker benefits
Forest workers are beneficiaries of forest management certification because they provide for their families’ livelihoods from their work in forestry.
For example, wages for people working in certified forests must meet or exceed minimum or living wages and workers receive job-specific training so that they can effectively contribute to the implementation of the forest management activities and increase their safety and motivation.
FSC also requires that certified forest operations protect their workers by implementing health and safety practices which meet or exceed the recommendations of the ILO Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Forestry Work.
Human rights and gender equality
FSC certification also assists the forest sector in respecting and applying human rights such as gender equality for forest-dependent people.
Since 2012, FSC requires that certified operations promote gender equality in employment practices and training opportunities for staff, and to provide confidential and effective mechanisms to report and eliminate cases of sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender, marital status, parenthood or sexual orientation of forest workers.
FSC is currently streamlining and reaffirming the scope of workers’ rights protection in all FSC-certified businesses around the world.
In August 2017, FSC achieved a major milestone when the Board of Directors agreed to include ILO Core Labour Conventions for all FSC-certified businesses, thereby also putting workers’ rights on the agenda in over 40,000 chain of custody certified businesses.
Current public consultations
As part of adding core labour requirements to chain of custody certification , FSC held a first round of public consultations which introduced the issue of self-assessments.
With this consultation, valuable information about the need to include self-assessments for certificate holders was obtained. With the self-assessments, certificate holders are enabled to identify issues themselves and then improve these. This is a major step forward in obtaining the acceptance of ILO Core Labour Requirements in the chain of custody system.
The second round of public consultation considered an equally crucial aspect: the number of certificate holders that might already be applying Core Labour Requirements through other certification schemes.
Comments from the second round will enable a technical working group and FSC to check other certification schemes to see if they are aligned with the core requirements as defined by FSC and thus make recommendations on their applicability
Once the public consultations are finished, FSC will begin work to add the FSC Core Labour Requirements to the draft Chain of Custody standards (FSC -STD-40-004 and FSC-STD-20-011) used by FSC-certified companies worldwide.
Training for CoC certificate holders on workers’ rights
Aware of the implications of the changes proposed in the Chain of Custody standards, FSC is in the process of creating a training framework on labour rights for certified companies. This training aims to explain FSCs Core Labour Requirements to certified companies and stakeholders. The trainings are expected to be operational by March 2021, in English and Spanish.
Membership participation is encouraged
If you are an FSC Member and wish to contribute your thoughts or ideas for improvement on labour issues please sign up to our member’s portal here.
Responsible consumption and production
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