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FSC responds to media reports of wrongful activity in Ukraine

Recent media reports examined the Austrian parquet market and its Ukrainian suppliers, doubts were raised about the effectiveness of FSC controls in Ukraine. They suggest FSC certification was not an effective means of punishing or exposing violations of FSC standards. Source: Timberbiz

FSC is a voluntary certification system for social, economic and ecologically sustainable forest management. By means of supply chain certification, FSC ensures a direct link between end products and positive incentives for forestry. All certified forest owners and companies are bound to comply with the relevant FSC standards. These forestry standards are based on international principles and criteria.

As a voluntary instrument, FSC certification cannot solve all the problems associated with poor forest management or the illegal timber trade. FSC certification is an additional control instrument for safeguarding timber supply chains.

FSC condemns any criminal acts or unfair behaviour on the part of its certificate holders. By its very nature, monitoring by independent organisations such as FSC cannot replace government oversight. The fight against criminal activities requires a joint effort by all societal actors – state institutions, NGOs, social groups, local communities and companies.
FSC is aware of the difficult environment in Ukraine. As a result, the country is already subject to additional control procedures for FSC certified forestry and supply chains. For example, the independent, FSC-accredited auditors (controllers) are regularly accompanied by controllers from the international quality assurance organisation Assurance Services International (ASI).

This also includes unannounced company inspections. Local FSC representative, FSC Ukraine, works closely with FSC International to further tighten the local controls to ensure that they are better suited to the difficult environment currently prevailing in the country. In principle however, the FSC rules for processing facilities are the same across the world. In the event of proven violations of the certification requirements or the fundamental FSC values, the certificates will be suspended or withdrawn.
Following the media reports, FSC lodged a complaint with ASI regarding the companies in question. If the allegations are confirmed, this may lead to further review of the certificates and, if necessary, to additional consequences.