Global Forest Registry updated with recent FSC forest risk assessments for 20 countries
FSC has recently published the approved risk assessments for some categories of unacceptable timber sourcing from 20 countries. The new version of Global Forest Registry therefore has incorporated these FSC approved results, including relevant documents of the risk evaluation process. The new version of the Global Forest Registry is accessible here .
In some countries where only some categories are approved, FSC is conducting assessment for the remaining categories whilst the approved categories are not mandatory yet.
The risk assessments for different categories of timber from unacceptable sources in a country, were conducted according to the revised requirements (FSC-PRO-60-002a V1-0). This is part of an on-going project by FSC to map global unaccepted forest activities in 53 countries around the world.
Once the evaluation is completed for all categories, the approved assessments will be used in the implementation of FSC-STD-40-005 (V3-0), which outlines requirements for organisations to avoid timber materials from unacceptable sources.
Read more on the assessment status, relevant documents and consultation processes at FSC website .
Use of the Global Forest Registry in the FSC Controlled Wood system
The Global Forest Registry has been updated to align with revised Controlled Wood requirements for risk assessments, however the revised Controlled Wood standards have not yet been finalized and approved. This article intends to explain how the Global Forest Registry and the assessments it contains shall be used for sourcing Controlled Wood, now, and later, during the transition to the revised Controlled Wood Chain of Custody (CW-CoC) standard (FSC-STD-40-005) once it is in force.
The updated Global Forest Registry contains risk assessments that were developed and approved according to previous risk assessment requirements, and risk assessments made following the current requirements of the revised Controlled Wood system. The source of information, including requirements that were followed by a risk assessment, is always indicated in the information associated with a particular country.
FSC-STD-40-005 V2-1 (current version)
Using the current CW-CoC standard, only risk designations from National Risk Assessments approved according to previous risk assessment procedures (FSC-PRO-60-002 V2-0) may be used. The risk designations within these are either ‘low risk’ or ‘unspecified risk’. Supplies from ‘low risk’ areas may be sourced, while those in ‘unspecified risk’ areas require field verification to ensure the risk of sourcing unacceptable material is low. Areas that are not covered by an FSC-approved risk assessment require either the company to conduct its own risk assessment, or field verification.
FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0 (revised version)
Using the revised standard, it will be necessary to understand which risk assessments shall be used when they exist. This is decided by whether the risk assessment has been conducted according to current or previous requirements, and whether it has been conducted at the national or global level.
When a National Risk Assessment that has been approved according to revised requirements exists, it must be used. These risk assessments will have been conducted at the national level according to the latest requirements and will contain the most detail.
If for a particular supply area this doesn’t exist, but the area is covered by FSC’s Centralized National Risk Assessment, then the risk designations from this shall be used, as the assessment has been conducted according to the revised requirements.
If neither of these exist, but an NRA following “old” requirements exists, the low risk designations from this may be used until the end of 2017. Unspecified risk designations here shall be treated as unassessed.
When looking for risk assessments on the new database, countries or regions covered by the revised risk assessment will be displayed in either green (low risk) or in orange (specified risk). Countries or regions without a revised risk assessment will be indicated in grey. Clicking on a country of interest will open a window containing detailed information on risk assessment indicators and the source of the risk assessment (NRA according to current or previous requirements, or CNRA).
Because of the limited use of ‘old’ NRAs in the revised Controlled Wood system, the countries or regions for which an ‘old’ NRA has been approved may be displayed in a different way. If the whole country or region was assessed as low risk, it will be displayed in green. But if only a part of it was assessed as low risk or the whole area was designated as unspecified risk – this area will be displayed in grey. Only clicking on a particular country will reveal this detailed information and the low risk areas relevant for the country.
Stakeholders are therefore encouraged to always explore the detailed information about the countries or regions they are interested in, beyond simply looking at how the map is initially displayed.
It is also very important to note that all approved NRAs are listed in FSC-PRO-60-002b List of FSC approved Controlled Wood documents, where the version of the risk assessment procedures that were used to develop and approve them is also indicated. FSC-PRO-60-002b can be downloaded from the Global Forest Registry.
The use of risk designations in NRAs developed according to FSC-PRO-60-002 V2-0 (old requirements) in the revised Controlled Wood system.
New Zealand low risk for Controlled Wood
The Global Forest Registry has been updated to include a new national Controlled Wood risk assessment for New Zealand.
Endorsed by FSC-International Center in July, the assessment concludes that all of New Zealands forests are low risk for FSC Controlled Wood. Buyers of Controlled Wood may now source wood from New Zealand without conducting further risk evaluations.
All five risk categories of the FSC Controlled Wood Standard are assessed as low risk.
Updated draft lists of applicable legislation
14 draft lists of applicable legislation have been updated including: Russia, Indonesia, Sweden and Myanmar.
The updated lists can be found on each individual country page with the main updates covering:
- A new framework for the applicable legislation lists related to 5 major forest legality categories.
- The lists now also include information on trade related issues
- Other country specific material that was previously missing.
This lists of applicable legislation are not an official source of information on applicable legislation. FSC and NEPCon do thus not accept any legal responsibility for the completeness of the information or related to the use of the information.
Updated risk assessment for UK
The Global Forest Registry has been updated to include the new national Controlled Wood risk assessment for UK. FSC-certified companies purchasing and using Controlled Wood in their FSC production can turn to the Risk Registry for up-to-date information on the mandatory national assessment.
The whole UK is now classified as low risk for all five Controlled Wood categories. Buyers of Controlled Wood may now source wood from UK without conducting further risk evaluations. The updated risk assessment was approved on 12 March 2014 effective from the same date.
Update: draft lists of applicable legislation uploaded
The Global Forest Registry team is compiling lists of applicable laws and regulations applying to legal harvesting and trade in many of the world’s countries. Preliminary lists are now available for 76 countries.
A broad spectrum of laws and regulations typically apply to legal harvesting and trade in a country. These regulations are assuming a great importance in the FSC Controlled Wood system as well as the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). Buyers essentially need a good overview of all these laws in order to assess the risk of legal violation pertaining to the forest sector in the country of origin. Such risk evaluations are required for compliance with the FSC Controlled Wood system as well as the EUTR.
“For a company sourcing timber products from several countries, maintaining the overview of all these regulations is a major challenge”, explains Christian Sloth, Forest Legality Programme Manager at NEPCon. “We are talking about a complex of laws, and some of these are bound to change over time. To help buyers, we are compiling and updating available information on such laws in the Global Forest Registry”.
The new lists thus support organisations seeking to:
• Comply with FSC Controlled Wood (CW) requirements for risk assessment and field verification for the first CW category of controversial material (illegally harvested wood)
• Comply with FSC principle 1 (legality)
• Fulfil EUTR requirements
• Source legally harvested timber.
The lists that are now available in the registry are compiled based on information extracted from available sources such as nationally endorsed and interim FSC forest management standards, FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), and others. Each draft list states the sources used to compile it.
“The lists are incomplete at this point”, says Mr. Sloth. “For example, most of the trade-related legislation is still missing for each country. We are seeking sources of information to complete the lists. Meanwhile, we think that even these incomplete compilations will be helpful for buyers”.
Your help is appreciated
NOTE: these lists do not constitute official sources of information on applicable legislation. FSC and NEPCon do not assume any legal responsibility for the completeness of the information or for stakeholders’ use of the information.
Other sources that we are not aware of may exist. If such are known to you please send them to the contacts indicated under the support section on the GFR webpage, as this information may be useful to others.
Context: FSC National Risk Assessments
FSC has been consulting a revised National Risk Assessment development procedure and a newly developed National Risk Assessment Framework; the consultation ended on 15 September 2013. The National Risk Assessments were initiated concurrently with this consultation.
“FSC-PRO-60-002 V 2-0 EN The Development and Approval of Controlled Wood National Risk Assessments” specifies the development and revision of National Risk Assessments. The process and requirements for risk determination are described in: “FSC-PRO-60-002b V1-0 EN Addendum: FSC National Risk Assessment Framework”. The addendum requires risk determination covering Controlled Wood Category 1 (illegal harvesting) to be based on the applicable legislation in the country of origin.
Based on this the draft lists of applicable legislation are developed as an aid to organisations sourcing controlled wood, until a full National Risk Assessment is available for Category 1 in these countries. These draft lists will be replaced with National Risk Assessments for Category 1 as these become available.
Further information on the consultation of the National Risk Assessment development is available here.
Corruption perception index 2012
New figures for the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), released by Transparency International in December 2012. Five countries have moved from “unspecified risk” to “low risk” for legality under the Controlled Wood requirements.
On 5 December 2012, Transparency International released the results of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2012. The index scores 176 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It is important to notice that scale has changed compared to last year, when a scale from 0 to 10 was used.
In the new CPI, New Zealand, Denmark and Finland equally scored highest 90 points. Somalia, Afganistan and North Korea rank equally lowest with 8 points.
For the purpose of FSC Controlled Wood risk assessments, it is considered that the former threshold of 5 for determining risk, now represents a threshold of 50 on the new scale.
Compared to 2011, Lithuania, Costa Rica, Hungary, Georgia and Seychelles have become “low risk” for legality under the Controlled Wood requirements. None of the countries who had previously CPI index above 5, have now fallen to a perceived corruption level, where the index on the new scale is below 50.
For further information please check the report at Transparency International’s website: http://www.transparency.org/cpi2012/results .
Corruption Index: Lithuania and Costa Rica unspecified risk for Controlled Wood
With new figures for the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), released by Transparency International on 1 December 2011, Lithuania and Costa Rica have become “unspecified risk” for legality under the Controlled Wood requirements.
On 1 December 2011, Transparency International released the results of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2011. The index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest.
In the new CPI, New Zealand ranks first, followed by Denmark and Finland. Somalia and North Korea (included in the index for the first time) rank lowest.
In Costa Rica, Lithuania and Oman, CPI has fallen below 5. According to the FSC Controlled Wood policy, these countries are now to be considered “unspecified risk” for legal timber. A country can be considered as low risk only if the CPI for the given country is equal to or above 5. This change in CPI is very important for companies who purchase controlled timber from Lithuania or Costa Rica, since field verification of legal harvesting is required for sourcing controlled wood from countries with a CPI below 5. Oman is not considered to be an important country in terms of forestry.
The following EU countries now have a CPI below 5: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia. “These figures show that there is risk of illegal harvesting in several locations within the EU, which is also important to note in relation to the fast approaching EU Timber Regulation that aim to block the entrance of illegal timber into the EU marketplace”, says Chain of Custody certification expert at NEPCon Roman Polyachenko. “Greece and Italy show some of the highest corruption levels in Europe. Some of the EU countries that have previously moved from below to above the CPI threshold of 5 are still doing well, such as Poland and Slovenia. In others, a negative development is seen. For example, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia have all had CPIs of above 5 in recent years – but none of them have managed to raise the bar back to this level again this year”.
Slovakia has fallen as low as 4, while Lithuania remains close to 5 with 4.8. The CPI in Rwanda and Bahrain has risen over 5 but none of these countries are forest-rich.
For further information check the report at Transparency International’s website: http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/results/ .
For longer coverage on the CPI and related threats see full article in NEPCon Certified Wood Update.
Germany low risk for Controlled Wood
The Global Forest Registry has been updated to include a new national Controlled Wood risk assessment for Germany.
Endorsed by FSC-International Center in July, the assessment concludes that all of Germany’s forests are low risk for FSC Controlled Wood. Buyers of Controlled Wood may now source wood from Germany without conducting further risk evaluations.
The Controlled Wood risk assessment was carried out by the German FSC Working Group. All five risk categories of the FSC Controlled Wood Standard were assessed as low risk. The Risk Assessment was carried out for all types of German forests including plantations. The definition of forests and plantations in Germany can be found in the German FSC Forest Management standard.
Public consultations for stakeholders were held in March and April 2011 and assessment of the documentation by the FSC International Center for formal recognition took place in June 2011. The list of participating groups and the stakeholder consultation report can be found in the file attached to Germanys risk assessment.
The relevant contact persons at FSC Germany are Thomas Häbe & Uwe Sayer, FSC Deutschland, Nussmannstr. 14, 79098 Freiburg, Tel.: +49761 38653-62, Fax: +49 761 38653-79, email: email@example.com .
New risk assessments for the UK and Portugal
The Global Forest Registry has been updated to include two national Controlled Wood risk assessments recently endorsed by the FSC International Center: the UK and continental Portugal. FSC-certified companies purchasing and using Controlled Wood in their FSC production can turn to the Risk Registry for up-to-date information on the these mandatory national assessments.
“Since these risk assessments cover five classes of grossly irresponsible forest management, including legal harvesting, they also provide good guidance for any buyer who seeks to purchase responsible timber”, explains Hando Hain, Research & Development Manager at NEPCon.
Northern Ireland ‘unspecified risk’
The entire territory of continental Portugal is now deemed as “low risk” for controversial wood sourcing. Within the UK, England, Scotland and Wales have also been classed as low risk for all five Controlled Wood categories.
Due to a lack of requirements for felling licenses in Northern Ireland, the country is classed as “unspecified risk” for legality. It does however pass as “low risk” for all four other categories, making the process simpler, only requiring companies to demonstrate proof of legal harvesting. FSC UK Executive Director Charles Thwaites states, “Our expectation is that the felling licence situation in Northern Ireland will be resolved soon. We will update the risk assessment to reflect any change as early as possible.”
The Global Forest Registry is updated whenever national risk assessments are endorsed by FSC or when other relevant public information is made available.