What We Heard
At the end of March 2014, the second public consultation about the development of International Generic Indicators (IGIs) closed.
The IGI Group offers hearty and sincere thanks to the entire FSC community for providing thorough feedback on the second draft of the IGIs.
The second public consultation engaged more stakeholders than any other in FSC’s history, with 218 people submitting comments via online survey, email or letter. This compares to 196 people who submitted comments during the first public consultation.
Currently the IGI Group is reviewing the comments, developing summaries and mapping out a path forward, in preparation for the next meeting in May 2014. The IGI website is the best way to stay up to date with the latest information.
While the stakeholders submitted many detailed and technical comments, a number of common themes emerged. The IGI Group is currently considering the following input – along with all comments received – as they further refine the IGIs:
• Overall, stakeholders felt the second draft was a significant improvement over the first in many ways. They appreciated the hard work by the IGI Group to incorporate comments from the first public consultation into the second draft.
• As a starting point for national standards, stakeholders appreciated the ability to “adopt, adapt, drop or add new” indicators as necessary. However without final publication of the Transfer Procedure, there were many questions about how the IGIs will be applied in a national context
• Additional detail is needed about how the IGIs apply to Small or Low-Intensity Managed Forests (SLIMFs) and plantations.
• Stakeholders raised questions about the addition of “Notes” in the second draft of the IGIs, wondering if they are normative or simply suggestions, and how they would be applied.
• Stakeholders raised questions about how the IGIs are addressing or related to climate change and carbon sequestration in FSC certified forests.
• Economic Chamber members in particular noted the complexity of the IGIs and raised questions about the costs, paperwork and practicality of application in the field, although other stakeholders raised these concerns as well.
• Environmental Chamber members felt that more specificity and rigor may be needed in some indicators to ensure a high level of protection across all forests.
• Many stakeholders, including Social Chamber members, raised questions about Scale, Intensity and Risk (SIR), the application of ILO Conventions in non-ratifying countries, and the application of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) across all nations.
• Certification Bodies raised questions about the auditability and clarity of many indicators.
• Stakeholders in general wanted additional clarity and guidance about non-defined terms, such as “best available information”, “scientifically rigorous methods”, “precautionary approach”, “sensitivity analysis”, and “externality”.
The IGI process is technical, complex and vitally important to the FSC system. Thus it is not surprising that stakeholders offered strong and sometimes varying perspectives on how to further strengthen the Indicators. In fact, it is a testament to the FSC community of Members, Certificate Holders, Certification Bodies, Network Partners and other stakeholders that so much thoughtful input was provided.
In the weeks ahead, the IGI Group will be thinking carefully about how to address the questions and comments submitted. They will provide more information about the path ahead once they have made decisions during the May meeting.
Once again, thank you to all stakeholders who submitted comments during the second public consultation. Your commitment to FSC and thoughtful participation is critical to maintain and enhance the integrity of our forest certification system.
For more information, visit the IGI website at http://igi.fsc.org/.