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Wednesday, 20 November 2013
FSC UK Stakeholder Event Report: OCP and Fibre Testing

FSC Timber (© (c) E.Hakizumwami)© (c) E.Hakizumwami

Online Claims Platform to strengthen system and support EUTR

On November 14th 2013 staff from FSC and Historic Futures met with delegates from FSC accredited certification bodies, retailers, NGOs, industry trade bodies and certified companies from the timber and paper sectors, to discuss the forthcoming inclusion of an Online Claims Platform (OCP) within the FSC system. Delegates also learnt about FSC’s fibre testing programme. There was a fantastic level of engagement with stakeholders from all sectors contributing to a lively discussion.

Why do we need OCP?

Accurate claims are the basis of the entire FSC system. By implementing the OCP, FSC is ensuring the integrity of FSC and reducing risk associated with inaccurate product claims.

FSC is working with Historic Futures to develop a cloud-based internet platform to record all FSC claims. When completed, the OCP will work alongside the existing FSC Chain of Custody system. The OCP will allow FSC Certificate Holders (CHs) to make claims through a variety of methods via an internet platform thus ensuring the integrity of FSC is maintained in a scalable way.

OCP Implementation

Between April 2014 and December 2014 all FSC CHs will need to register and connect to the OCP. CHs must check that all their data is correct and notify their FSC accredited certification body of any changes that are required. To connect with suppliers, CHs will need to send a connection request. The supplier must then accept the request, much in the same way as friend or connection requests using networking sites Facebook or LinkedIn.

This process of registering and connecting is all that is required during 2014. The system will also automatically notify CHs when the scope of a certificate is changed or when it is with-drawn or suspended. Registration support will be available from FSC UK.

From 2015 all transactions will need to be recorded using the OCP. FSC understands that this process has implications for CHs and is determined to ensure that transactions can be recorded in as simple a manner as possible.

In advance of/during CH audits, their certification body can collect the input and output records of the CH, thus providing auditors with upstream and downstream information, and helping to identify any issues.

All CHs will have the opportunity to try out the OCP in a test “sandbox” environment, contact FSC UK for more details.

Access to Information

A logical source map can be produced from the data within the OCP. Although the OCP is not a true traceability tool it can provide information on all possible sources for any one product, thus providing the CH with access to information on species and country of origin. The OCP will therefore support the use of FSC system as part of an EUTR due diligence process.

Source mapping will be available only to those who need access to the relevant information.

Fibre Testing

FSC has been working with the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and Integrated Paper Services (IPS) testing facility to test paper and timber products. The species and origin of wood can be determined through DNA/isotope testing, however, in order for this to be effective a library of isotopic data requires population. Species information does not guarantee legality but could highlight potential issues in conjunction with OCP.

The fibre testing programme has revealed questionable results for 10% of those products tested. Where results proved questionable, FSC has worked with certification bodies to investigate. In 9% of cases, products are still undergoing investigation, whilst Corrective Action Requests (CARs) have been issued to the remainder. There is more work to be done as part of this programme, and a progress report will soon be available.


FSC invites comments on FSC-ADV-01-010 D1-0, the FSC Online Claims Platform Advice Note. This document has been drafted to facilitate the implementation of the Online Claims Platform. All stakeholders are invited to participate in the consultation process. The deadline for comments is 29th December 2013. For more information and to download a copy of the Advice Note and comment form please click here.

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