The WG agreed on almost all elements of the policy, including to state clearly that the FSC opposes conversion, and to keep the 1994 cut-off date, after which a tough remedy would be required as a condition of potential forest management certification and association with FSC. However, the members did not reach consensus on principle 3, which outlines remedy requirements for past conversion. Further information on the latest policy draft is available here.

FSC has sought the consultancy of Richard Donovan to develop a White Paper on how to address conversion. The paper will identify options for a methodology to address the issue of the so-called ‘ownership loophole’ (for further background on the ‘ownership loophole’ please see FSC Green Paper on conversion here). The White Paper is expected to be publicly available in June 2021.

The results coming from the White Paper will be used to finalize principle 3 of the FSC Policy on Conversion, and will be discussed with the FSC membership and Board of Directors (BoD) between now and August 2021. FSC aims to finalize the draft policy after these discussions, and then submit it to the FSC Policy and Standards Committee and Board of Directors for review and approval in November 2021. We anticipate that the board approval will be conditional, with the final outcome depending on the membership discussion and vote on several motions that have been proposed for the General Assembly 2021/2022. We will keep you updated on the finalization process on the FSC Policy on Conversion webpage here.

Meanwhile, FSC is aligning several ongoing processes relevant to conversion, these are:

  • The development of the FSC policy on conversion and the related conversion remedy procedure, and
  • The revision of the Policy for Association (PfA) and the development of a PfA remediation framework.

In order to provide clarity and consistency in rules related to conversion, FSC is aligning the principles and requirements for the remedy of harm caused by conversion between the FSC conversion remedy procedure and the PfA remediation framework. We will send both documents in public consultation at the same time, so that members and stakeholders have the opportunity to look at the full picture of FSC’s rules for remediation at the time of consultation. Due to the complexity of aligning the two processes, the public consultations for both will start in mid-June 2021 rather than 17 May 2021 as earlier announced. We look forward to receiving your feedback in these two consultations.

The first draft of the revised PfA will also be in consultation during the same period. This consultation started on 17 May and will end in the middle of July and can be accessed here. The PfA is relevant for the discussions of how FSC can prevent conversion and ensure remedy in situations where it has happened anyway, among others because it defines the unacceptable activities, including significant conversion, and also the concept of ‘control,’ meaning responsibility for these unacceptable activities.

Please see below for an overview of timelines for these ongoing/planned processes:

conversion workplace high res

QUICK RECAP: Background of Motion 7 Processes

At the General Assembly 2017 in Vancouver, Canada, the FSC membership approved Motion 7 which requests that FSC develops a holistic policy and appropriate treatment at Principle, Criterion and Indicator levels with guidance to national Standards Development Groups, considering compensation for past conversion. To address Motion 7, FSC established two (2) groups: a chamber-balanced working group to develop FSC Policy on Conversion, and a technical working group (TWG) to focus on the implementation of the policy. Additional information of the WG process can be found  here, and TWG process  here. In February 2021 we published a communication item here to provide you with information on Motion 7 and its related processes, as well as their implementation status.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Below, you have a list of contacts concerning their specific areas of expertise and respective process webpages:

FSC Policy on ConversionFSC Conversion Remedy Procedure:  Yan Li, y.li@fsc.org

PfA Remediation Framework (Formerly known as ‘Generic Roadmap for ending disassociation’): Salem Jones, s.jones@fsc.org