With the new additional generic criteria and indicators, FSC is taking a necessary and fundamental step in strengthening its standards and cementing it as the world’s most robust certification scheme for forest management and forest products chain of custody.
The path to achieve this started in 2014 when a sub-chamber balanced working group consisting of 6 FSC members and a technical expert began work to define application of the principles and rights at work as defined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work (1998) and the eight ILO Core Labour Conventions within the FSC standards.
The outcome of this process was a report containing a set of generic criteria and suggested indicators that describe how to develop auditable requirements at the level of FSC certificate holders. A set of verifiers was added to ensure their auditability at certificate holder level.
It offers instructions for Standard Developers at Chain of Custody, Controlled Wood and National Forest Stewardship Standard level to give due consideration to the rights and obligations established under applicable national laws, while at the same time fulfilling the objectives of the generic criteria and indicators, it nonetheless defines the path for the enhanced protection of workers within FSC certified businesses.
Four specific generic criteria with their indicators have been defined. These refer specifically to the effective abolition of child labour, the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation and freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
In exceptional cases where there is conflict between national laws and the indicators, Standard Development Groups may propose adaptations, additions or deletions, subject to approval by FSC’s decision making bodies.
As informative guidance to Standard Developers, the working group has also developed a set of non-normative explanatory notes on background; intent and meaning of some of the requirements (see FSC-GUI-60-008).
Regarding implementation of the Report and Guidance document for National Forest Stewardship Standards, the Policy and Standards Unit (PSU) is currently preparing further information to be shared with the FSC Network.
As part of the effort to communicate this achievement FSC will host an ILO side event during the General Assembly in Vancouver on 10 October at 9:30 a.m.