The Bulgarian NFSS was approved by the FSC Board’s Policy and Standards Committee (PSC) on 20 October 2016 provided that two conditions were to be addressed by the standards development group (SDG) before the PSU would assign an effective date.
The SDG has successfully met these conditions. The PSC decision note that gives more details on the conditions issued at the time of approval is available upon request.
According to FSC requirements (FSC-STD-60-006 V1-2 clause 11.3), an approved NFSS becomes effective in territories where forest management certification is already established three (3) months after FSC’s announcement of the approved NFSS. The Bulgarian NFSS will, therefore, be effective on 16 August 2017. The intervening three-month period is in place for Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs; i.e. certification bodies) to adapt their systems to the new standard. CABs are required to inform all their clients in Bulgaria that they shall be assessed against the new standard from 16 August 2017.
Clients may opt to be audited against the new standard from the effective date, but all assessments shall be with the new standard from 16 August 2017.
As audits take place over the course of the year, all existing clients shall be audited against the new standard by 16 August 2018 to remain certified; any certificates based on the old standard will be considered expired by FSC as of this date.
Where major corrective action requests (CARs) are issued as a result of a non-compliance with a new requirement, the client may be granted an extension of up to six (6) months to close them (per FSC-STD-20-007 clause 8.10). New requirements are those elements that are entirely new to the standard rather than a rewording of previous requirements.
The PSU would like to take this opportunity to join with the PSC in congratulating the Bulgarian SDG for being one of the first to complete an NFSS development process in accordance with the revised P&C (version 5) and related documents.
If you have any questions about the assessment and approval process of NFSS standards, please contact Fon. Gordian Fanso at firstname.lastname@example.org