Highlighting the Value of the FSC Digitalization

Participants in the side meeting on FSC 2.0 called for a digital revolution that would complement other tools already used, and stressed the value it would bring if it was to be embraced by a majority of stakeholders.

A session on the FSC digitalization really could not take place through a traditional panel of speakers with PowerPoint presentations. Instead, a system called Sli.do was used to enable participants’ comments and their answers to key questions posted through the system to lead the session. Soon after the answers to the first topic, ‘What are the advantages for FSC to go digital?’ started to appear on the screen, various attendees started to discuss how this integration of digital technologies into FSC’s work should be managed.

One quick-off-the-mark participant mentioned the need to stress the value of digitalization for stakeholders, a theme that came back throughout the session: “The costs [of digitalization] are quite high, so how do you put value on what is being developed? What will this digitalization mean for members? For stakeholders? It can be quite a challenge [to convince them].”

Ulrich Malessa, from FSC Germany, was the next to talk and mentioned another important theme that kept coming back during the session: the need to use 2.0 as a complementary solution to diversify the different options proposed to FSC stakeholders. Ulrich said that many of his stakeholders were concerned that 2.0 would phase out the 1.0 system, and then compared the use of 2.0 as a complementary solution like the use of paper money being retained alongside credit cards.

The FSC Online Claims Platform (OCP) was often mentioned in the discussion as a missed opportunity to start the digitalization of FSC: the benefits of the platform were not clear to the stakeholders and its system did not match users’ needs. “For many of you in the room, IT only means OCP. This is actually not true, as IT is also looking at other options [to develop the FSC digitalization],” said Loa Dalgaard Worm, Director of FSC Denmark, before detailing some of the options: risk tools to evaluate the risks that companies represent even before they get certified; digital tools to manage chain of custody certification all on one platform; and an upgrade to FSC database, to enable specific products to be found for consumers – were among the 12 detailed options.

Various examples of how organizations view digitalization were given. Jamie Lawrence, Senior Sustainability Advisor at Kingfisher, insisted on the fact that FSC’s delay in becoming digitalized was a risk, as its competitors were moving faster towards digitalization and FSC may end up falling behind them.

Jamie also stated that “Millennial customers in our stores want to scan QR codes on the products, not to look at labels, and they needed them yesterday.”

To convince those millennials and small and medium-sized companies – two categories that presenters noted still lack representation within FSC – Jamie proposed to create the new system “with the user”. Several participants also insisted on the need to convince companies that this digitalization is in their own interest.

Despite all these challenges ahead of time, the session concluded on an optimistic note as most participants shared their ‘positive’, ‘excited’, and ‘hopeful’ feelings regarding the digitalization of FSC.