Strengthening Labour Issues within FSC

The working group on International Labour Organization (ILO) generic criteria and indicators presented an updated report based on the ILO Core Convention principles. The working group on International Labour Organization (ILO) generic criteria and indicators presented an updated report based on the ILO Core Convention principles.


“In 2014, the FSC Board appointed a working group to develop generic criteria and indicators that define what compliance with the principles of the ILO Core Conventions means, considering the common applicability to certificate holders and legal framework,” said Paul Opanga, FSC Manager, Labour Issues.

He added that a Labour Solution Forum had been established to work in standard development processes within FSC and discuss solutions for ensuring integration of labour issues.

The forum is made up of representatives from ISEAL Alliance and ILO, and had recently met in Peru. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the social chamber from trade unions, and environment and economic chambers including FSC Board members and network partners.

The meeting also discussed issues of training, auditing, and lobbying for an increased presence of Accreditation Services International (ASI) in the regions as part of improving cultural and language sensitivity; strengthening the capacity of all stakeholders concerning the boundaries and scope of the dispute resolution system (DRS); and explored holding labour solutions forums at national or regional levels.

Methodology to draft generic criteria and indicators based on ILO Core Convention principles

“To draft criteria and indicators, we used the current FSC P&C [Principles and Criteria] and IGI [international generic indicators] as key reference, the ILO Core Conventions, and guidance for social criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. We also compared draft criteria and indicators with requirements developed by other schemes, and had inputs from an international labour expert, discussed with Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and the North American coalition on freedom of association and collective bargaining. We also used the feedback provided by the consultative forum and stakeholders that participated during the public consultations,” added Paul.

The updated report focused on the following generic criteria and indicators:

1. The effective abolition of child labour

2. The elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour

3. The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation

4. Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

“It is very important for us that the generic criteria and indicators are aligned with national forest stewardship standards (FM standards) and will be included in the international generic indicators (IGI),” said Dorothee Jung, FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) Policy Manager.

She added that the indicators are developed to take into consideration the variations in national laws and the plan is for national standard development groups (SDG) to adopt criteria and indicators. In exceptional cases where there is a conflict between national law and the indicators, SDGs may suggest adapting, dropping, or adding indicators subject to approval by FSC decision-making bodies.

“We have established a chain of custody working group with balanced representation of economic, environmental, and social interests to include criteria and indicators as this will require revision of the CoC standard FSC-STD-40-004,” added Dorothee.

The group is also working on an adaptation process initiated following incorporation of criteria and indicators in IGI for controlled wood.

The working group also announced that a consultative forum will be established – public stakeholder consultation with a tentative timeline to start in 2018 and finish in 2020.