Show Me The Data

By Jesse Cruz, FSC International

‘FSC Mix’ products and the controlled wood used to produce them is a contentious subject among FSC members, but more information needs to be collected and presented before a decision can be made about its future role in the system.  

There was standing room only at the ‘Controlled Wood Strategy’ 2017 FSC General Assembly side event, an opportunity to listen to conversations on complex topics by experts representing the FSC governing chambers and stakeholder groups.  

Three overarching challenges emerged from the conversations: stakeholders have divergent views and expectations; there is a limited understanding of how ‘FSC Mix’ products work and the nuances of controlled wood standards; and, most importantly, there is not enough data for stakeholders to take informed decisions.  

On the polar extremes on this subject you have one camp of stakeholders that want controlled wood to be phased out sooner rather than later, and another camp that wants controlled wood to become a permanent part of the FSC system.

What approach to ‘FSC Mix’ will make FSC most impactful? 

The success of this strategy will depend on bringing in all the right people and ensuring they know what ‘FSC Mix’ products are, why controlled wood was created and its role in the greater FSC system. And outreach efforts will not be limited to FSC stakeholders either; FSC seeks to speak with non-certified suppliers, government officials, policy-makers, and other affected stakeholders now and in the future.

What does the strategy develop process look like?  

To develop a ‘controlled wood strategy,’ FSC has taken a different approach than its traditional policy process which tasks a small working group with the job. Instead, FSC has invested more in engaging with members to explore the complexity of the system together, and to understand the expectations of stakeholders.  

What are the next steps? 

FSC aims to explore a concept called, ‘future search,’ a well-established methodology to bring together a large, diverse group to solve complex problems. A consultative forum will also be created to start having strategic conversations ahead of the workshop in June 2018. And, to the member’s delight, more data will be made available to inform all stakeholders on what controlled wood means for the future of the FSC system.  

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