FSC strengthens position on conversion and encourages remedy for harm with new documents
Policy to Address Conversion, FSC Remedy Framework, and updated version of FSC Principles and Criteria addressing Motion 37/2021 and Motion 40a/2021 published.
By passing Motion 37/2021: Required changes to the FSC Principles and Criteria to implement the Policy to Address Conversion at the FSC General Assembly in Bali, Indonesia from 9-14 October 2022, FSC membership enabled the implementation of the Policy to Address Conversion and FSC Remedy Framework (see a history of the processes here and here).
With these changes to FSC Principles and Criteria and the development of the Policy to Address Conversion and FSC Remedy Framework, FSC demonstrates its contributions to global commitments to end deforestation and to advance the restoration of lost environmental values and the restitution of social harms.
The Policy to Address Conversion, approved by the Board of Directors in August 2022, strengthens FSC's fundamental principles on conversion of natural forests and High Conservation Value areas while providing avenues to remedy and compensate for social and environmental harms caused by past conversion. Moreover, the policy strengths FSC's commitment to end deforestation by establishing a new conversion cut-off date where land converted after 31 December 2020 is not eligible for certification. This policy has now been published and can be accessed here.
These changes pave a route by which millions of hectares of forests converted between 1 December 1994 and before 31 December 2020 can be restored and then become managed in a responsible manner according to the FSC Principles and Criteria and ultimately FSC-certified. With this, FSC becomes more relevant in the restoration space as a tool that provides market incentives to restore deforested and degraded land.
FSC has also now published a set of requirements for remedying past social and environmental harms: the FSC Remedy Framework. Through the Remedy Framework, FSC is at the forefront of creating a route for non-judicial access to remedy in the forestry sector; encouraging restoration and social remedy. The FSC remedy framework was approved by the Board of Directors in December 2022 and defines permanent and effective measures required for remedying past social and environmental harm caused by unacceptable activities as stipulated by the Policy for Association, version 2, or by conversion between 1 December 1994 and 31 December 2020 as stipulated by the Policy to Address Conversion.
Due to alignment updates required by the new Policy for Association, version 3 and non-eligibility for certification of land converted after 31 December 2020, FSC is developing a version of the Remedy Framework (FSC-PRO-01-004) which will be applicable on remedy required for unacceptable activities that occur from 1 January 2023 and will be presented to the FSC Board of Directors for approval in March 2023.
In addition to changes resulting from Motion 37/2021 the updated version of FSC Principles and Criteria (v5-3) also includes changes resulting from Motion 40a/2021: Review the applicability of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in Principle 4 which requested changes to relevant parts of the FSC Principles and Criteria. The aim of these changes is clarifying Principle 4, protecting, and upholding the rights of local communities and traditional peoples, and at the same time providing certificate holders with clear standards. The updated version of FSC Principles and Criteria (v5-3) has now been published and can be accessed here.
An accompanying Advice Note (ADVICE-10-004-01) Scope of application of FSC Remedy Framework for outstanding magnitude or gravity of harm caused has also been published today and can be accessed here. This advice note applies to all corporate groups that have been dissociated from FSC or that are seeking to associate with FSC after violating provisions of Policy for Association, version 2.
In the upcoming weeks, FSC will also publish an updated version of FSC International Generic Indicators reflecting the above changes to FSC Principles and Criteria and incorporating the IGI for Highly Hazardous Pesticides, approved by the Board of Directors in March 2022 together with an advice note informing how these changes will affect certificate holders.
The French translation of the documents will be published in the next weeks. FSC is organizing information webinars for all interested stakeholders on the Policy to Address Conversion and FSC Remedy Framework.
There will be three sessions of the same webinar that will take place on:
- 17 April 2023, at 15:00 pm (CET) this session will be simultaneously translated into Spanish. Register here to join the webinar
- 20 April 2023, at 9:30 am (CET) this session will be simultaneously translation into French. Register here to join the webinar
- 3 May 2023, at 9:30 am (CET) this session will be simultaneously translated into Bahasa Indonesian. Register here to join the webinar
Source: FSC Canada