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Many voices, one standard

Democracy is at the heart of the FSC system – seize the opportunity to make your voice heard in the next revision of the UK forest stewardship standard.

UKWASIt may seem like only yesterday that our latest national forest stewardship standard was approved and published, but the review and revision cycle keeps on turning. FSC’s rules require national standards to be reviewed within three years and, if necessary, to be revised within five, so it’s already time to start thinking about the feedback we’ve received on the standard and about the changing national and international context.

The standard development process in the UK is managed by the not-for-profit UKWAS company. FSC UK has been working closely with UKWAS over the last few months to update their standard-setting process and timetable to ensure that they are fully aligned with FSC’s international requirements. Central to the development of any FSC national standard is a Standards Development Group, or SDG, with balanced representation of stakeholders from economic, environmental and social chambers. The SDG is expected to take account of the views of a broader range of stakeholders who are kept abreast of the revision process and who make up a consultative forum.

‘These fundamental FSC requirements are reflected in the new UKWAS process document,’ says FSC UK Forest Standards Manager Dr Owen Davies. ‘It includes a stakeholder mapping exercise to ensure we involve and consult all the right players, and the rules regarding a chamber-balanced working group are designed to mirror those for an SDG.’

The UKWAS company has recently put out a call for all stakeholders to express an interest in participating in the next standard review and revision. Individuals and organisations can ask to be added to the list of consultees, and can express an interest in nominating individuals to sit on the working group.

‘From an FSC perspective, UKWAS are ahead of the curve here,’ notes Owen. ‘FSC only requires an announcement when the current standard has been reviewed and a decision has been made to revise it. It’s great to see them working so proactively to engage as wide a range of stakeholders as possible at the earliest opportunity.’

The UKWAS call is open until 30 April 2020; to register your interest, contact them directly at ukwas at point uk. If you have any questions about FSC’s approach to standard development, feel free to get in touch with Owen at owen at fsc-uk point org.

At the international level, FSC’s democratic systems are in full swing. There are plenty of opportunities to engage in consultations on policies and standards, including the implementation of the recently revised FSC Pesticides Policy. And 2020 is a General Assembly year: every three years, FSC members from all around the world come together to debate the big issues affecting our forests and to agree the direction of our global efforts to protect them; this October, the General Assembly will be held in Bali.

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