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Side event – Tuesday 4 PM – FSC 2.0
FSC 2.0: Stirring the pot of ideas
Anne-Sofie Forfang (Communications Manager) · NEPCon

In a dynamic side event organized by Greenpeace and the Rainforest Alliance on Tuesday, members put their heads together to dream up what FSC could be 20 years from now.

zoomWhat would FSC look like if we could create it all over again?

The question was thrown up into the air by Grant Rosoman of Greenpeace and Richard Donovan of the Rainforest Alliance who chaired the last of Tuesday’s side events. They asked a full room of enthusiastic members to forget the limitations of reality and join together for some “blue sky thinking”.

Seven people who are well-known to the FSC community primed the audience through five-minute presentations of their own visions for FSC. Delegates then gathered together in groups to discuss these ideas and generate their own, making the room buzz with lively discussions.

2034 AD: FSC is nimble, high-tech and cost-effective

The issue of cost-effectiveness and operational agility gained a lot of traction. Delegates clearly wanted FSC to move into a new stage of maturity that would allow the system to expand and function at a higher level. “Use the highest technology, bring down the cost, make it easier”, Peter Gardiner of Mondi urged.

Others spoke along the same lines, including Grant Rosoman, who said, “it’s hard for us in the Environmental Chamber to think about this, but I can’t see the value of increasing costs. We need to focus on the fundamental and critical points and just do those. We can’t do everything and we need the ability to be nimble”. He was confident that some costs will come down in the future due to the spread of data from remote technology, satellites, drones, etc.

The potential use of technology to deliver transparency in the Chain of Custody (CoC) system was mentioned repeatedly. One interesting idea was to boost FSC’s technology platform by organizing an “FSC-athon” week for developers, attracting the world’s best experts to help the scheme.

Several speakers and comments from the floor called for risk-based and regional approaches to auditing to help build a more agile system. One member of the audience suggested a regional “traffic light approach”, where the risk of non-compliance with specific criteria is classified at three levels, with corresponding levels of required auditing.

Attendees also agreed on the need for a mechanism to ensure that operations run smoothly and that decisions can be made between the General Assemblies, perhaps via an executive body. However, delegates cautioned that it very difficult to strike the balance between democracy and executive power.

2034: The reach and social impact of FSC greatly increased, with smallholders finally on board

Finding solutions to providing access to certification for smallholders and communities was another strong focus of discussions. Former FSC Executive Director André de Freitas called for a “softer takeoff approach” and envisioned an FSC with better mechanisms to support an earlier entry level, for example special standards for communities. Skip Krasny of Kimberly-Clark Corporation said, “if we really want the system to grow, we must realize that more and more land is owned by . We need to empower the local partnership and be realistic about what smallholders can do”.

Grant Rosoman urged FSC to develop a much more comprehensive package of tools to work with communities. Delegates offered numerous ideas, ranging from allowing certification of single-entry logging to increased engagement with governments, chamber-balanced investments and a central fund to subsidize certification for smallholders.

Problems solved: what next?

Much of the discussion focused on topics already on the agenda for the GA’s side events. But some scenarios for FSC in 20 went far beyond these, including:

  • FSC will be “the Apple of the sustainability world”, i.e. a world-leading sustainability brand. FSC may not even be FSC anymore, as it has merged with other strong brands.
  • FSC has expanded to cover ecosystems and/or other commodities. For example, consumers can now buy rayon and other textiles certified to strict FSC chain of custody requirements covering human rights.
  • Alexandre Boursier of the Rainforest Alliance offered the interesting vision that FSC won’t change: “FSC will be exactly where it is – cutting-edge forestry. It will fail if it becomes mainstream. Let’s continue to push the envelope and be the difficult standard. FSC must continue to lead the pack and set examples for others”, he said.

Concluding the session, Grant Rosoman thanked the audience for their help in brewing new ideas, and mentioned one more possible future outcome: “In 20 years, FSC will be gone! All the problems will be fixed and we won’t need FSC at all”. This spurred a witty rejoinder: “And Greenpeace, too!” making the room burst with laughter.

The results of the event will feed into FSC’s ongoing strategic planning. Further inputs may be sent to FSC’s Director of Strategic Development, Ian Hanna, at ian.hanna@fsc.org.