News and topics around our activities

Thursday, 12 September 2019
What is FSC doing for smallholders?

(© FSC UK / E. Parker)© FSC UK / E. Parker

Since FSC’s New Approaches for Smallholders and Communities Certification (or ‘New Approaches’) project was launched in 2016, we have been making great progress to help smallholders get easier access to FSC certification.

2019 is no exception, with the revision of the group standard and several other initiatives being rolled out in different regions to better understand the needs of smallholders locally.

Efforts for the remainder of this year will focus on continuing to deploy locally relevant solutions for smallholders and communities in specific geographic regions, aligned with FSC’s global priorities. The aim is to provide a range of validated new solutions and tools for responsible forest management to smallholders and communities. The main solutions and tools developed are:

  • a better integration of forestry contractors into the FSC system;
  • incorporating continuous improvement into the normative framework for its implementation on the ground;
  • the Smallholder Access Program pilot – to test a simplified standard and process for smallholders in the United States to access FSC certification;
  • the Asia Pacific Simplified Regional Standard – to allow smallholders with very small private lands access to FSC certification in that region;
  • the Chinese national standard pilot – to test alternative ways of conforming with its Indicator 6.5.5 (to set aside ten per cent of the forest units as a designated conservation area) in specific regions of China, where conformity is a challenge for smallholders.

Additional topics – which are more focused on marketing and value chain development – are also under development, and information about them will be shared soon.

In June, FSC New Approaches experts gathered in Carcavelos, Portugal, to share progress on the various workstreams and initiatives – as outlined in their 2018-19 report – and to consolidate planning for the rest of the year. FSC’s New Approaches team reflected the different regional needs of smallholders and communities, while also representing the FSC International depth of expertise. The next team meeting will be in Bonn, Germany, from 12 to 14 November 2019.

For more details on the New Approaches project, please contact Vera Santos, FSC New Approaches Project Manager, at

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231