Apologies were received from Ken Walsh and a welcome was extended to Nicolas Pillet from NEPCon.
Anand Punja, European Regional Director of the FSC, first apologised for Rosie Teasdale not being able to make it due to ill health and then went on to deliver a presentation to members which followed the National Hardwood Division meeting.
The major focus of the presentation was based around introducing FSC’s 2015-2020 Global Strategy. The strapline of this new strategy is ‘Delivering Forests for all Forever’ and this represents FSC’s desire to see a change in the way people ‘link and relate to forests’. Anand reminded attendees that FSC has a free-to-use marketing toolkit for license holders based around this strapline. He went on to introduce the four commitments of the FSC Strategy and the fact that there is beginning to be a shift from a more ‘process’ oriented approach to an ‘outcome’ oriented one. FSC is now advertising for a new Chief Operational Officer position, with strong management skills to deliver the strategy.
There are also plans for FSC to work more through alliances including PEFC, should the need arise on certain issues.
The brand value of FSC needs to be marketed more within the timber sector to increase the connections with consumers and other businesses.
Anand also emphasised the dual role of FSC as both an assurance tool and a platform for dialogue between forest stakeholders. He believes that the latter role is becoming increasingly relevant given the rise in global conflicts in and around forests. More stakeholders around forests are asking FSC to play this role.
Anand also presented some early thoughts on some of the Key issues for FSC in Europe.
There was a very lively Q&A session in which questions were asked regarding the likelihood of FSC and PEFC merging to reduce the auditing burden, the relationship of US timber to certification and the timeline for the new Chain of Custody standard. There were also discussions regarding the linking of the two Chain of Custody standards under ISO which so far has been an unpopular idea.
With regards to US forest certification, there was discussion regarding the fact that currently, forest owners see little value in certification as most already adopt Sustainable Forest Management but do not want to pay the price of certification.
There was also a discussion into the balance of power held by the economic, environmental and social stakeholder chambers within the FSC system.
Anand mentioned that the new Chain of Custody standard is up for approval by the board at a meeting in Brazzaville shortly. It is anticipated for release in late November or early December and there will be a communication strategy following this in December/January.
All in attendance were reminded that FLEGT licensing in Indonesia will begin on 15th November and the Timber Trade Federation’s revised Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP) will come into place on 1st January 2017.
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