FSC applauds the EU in taking the lead. The proposed EU regulation has the potential to increase the demand for “deforestation-free” products in the EU market, and it can nudge the rest of the world in a similar positive direction.
FSC has fought deforestation since its inception in 1994. Deforestation is not accepted in FSC-certified forests. As a multi-stakeholder platform, FSC has worked with various players, spanning from NGOs to progressive companies, to make sure the proposed law included mandatory due diligence complemented by credible voluntary sustainability standards .
“We know from our experience that mandatory approaches and voluntary ones are not mutually exclusive – but rather mutually supportive. FSC is ready to work further with the EU Institutions and governments across Europe to ensure that this regulation can make a real difference on the ground. FSC certification can play a role in the implementation of this regulation, as one of the most widely used tools,”says Kim Carstensen, FSC’s Director General.
The proposed regulation also challenges FSC certification and other schemes to continue to modernise systems on which certification was originally built and to continually improve transparency of the origin of products, along with audit/ assurance integrity on the ground. FSC is already on this pathway through the innovations being put into place to improve system integrity. Marc Jessel, FSC’s Chief System Integrity Officer commented;
“We are aware that the credibility of FSC certification has been a concern for Environmental NGOs, in particular, during the development process of this regulation. We continually assess the integrity risks of the FSC system and have already taken some strong actions where needed. The investment plans we have around system integrity are significant and do address these concerns. I am confident that FSC certification will continue to be the most robust, trusted and pragmatic solution to support businesses across Europe to meet the due diligence requirements of this proposed regulation.”
Whilst the proposed law is off to a solid start, selected elements can be improved. For example, the law could expand its scope to cover more products. Furthermore, social aspects in the proposed text could be strengthened, particularly the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
“Given FSC’s strong membership and alliances, especially with Indigenous Peoples and Communities, we really feel FSC can bring this perspective and more into next stages of the development of this proposal. FSC certification already covers aspects such as Indigenous People’s rights, so if these aspects were added to the proposal, it does not necessarily cause more burden for EU based businesses, especially those 20,000 plus businesses already using FSC certification” added Anand Punja, FSC’s Chief Engagement and Partnership Officer.
General information on FSC is available here.
EU Affairs- Matteo Mascolo- M.Mascolo@fsc.org