“FSC considers the WWF CAT to be a rigorous and transparent assessment, and welcomes and encourages such reviews of our system. FSC constantly faces new challenges as forests and markets around the world evolve, and we are always looking for ways to validate and further improve the credibility of our system,” commented FSC Director General Kim Carstensen.

“The WWF CAT is not just a tool for us, but can be an important tool for businesses and governments when they come to making forest certification decisions. We believe that the results speak for themselves that FSC is the right choice,” continued Mr. Carstensen.

The WWF CAT assessed FSC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) with the following results:

  • ‘The CAT suggests that FSC, with stronger system strength, provides the most credible forest certification scheme at present.’ On the system strength criteria for mission and governance, certification and transparency, and accreditation, FSC rates significantly higher than the other schemes.
  • ‘Encouragingly, the CAT suggests that the revised FSC standard (P&C v5) has improved considerably compared to P&C v4, particularly on its social criteria.’ The standard now scores 100 per cent in five out of eight content categories.
  • ‘The CAT also indicates that the FSC system is strongest where standards are developed and agreed at a national level.’ FSC also scores higher than PEFC and MTCS for all credibility aspects, even when standard development is undertaken on an interim basis by FSC accredited certification bodies.
  • ‘Stronger criteria on producer communication and greenhouse-gas emissions would strengthen the FSC standard’. Nevertheless, FSC scores higher than PEFC in these respects.

The CAT is based on WWF’s conservation objectives, expert opinion, and existing research into the impacts of certification, and uses 160 criteria equally divided between system strength and standard strength. You can read the full report here.