Given the recent developments around the global outbreak of COVID-19 and increasing travel restrictions, we have updated the derogation that allows certification bodies unable to conduct on-site audits to either postpone the audit or replace it with desk audits. Internal auditors of group and multi-site certificates will soon be given similar options.
FSC is aware that desk audits cannot fully replace on-site audits, but we see this derogation as justified in the current situation: Our priority is to protect the health of staff of certification bodies and certificate holders, and to support global measures to minimize the spread of the virus. To mitigate the difference in audit intensity and enable us to monitor the situation, we are setting up additional reporting requirements for the CBs.
With the flexible audit options, we aim to assure certificate holders that they need not be concerned of losing their certification status because auditors and staff are unable to conduct on-site audits in these challenging times.