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Thursday, 09 November 2017
Reflections on the FSC General Assembly

FSC Australia CEO, Sara Gipton shares thoughts after attending the week long event, the FSC General Assembly.

by Sara Gipton:

Thank you to all for your warm welcome to FSC.

I have just come back from the FSC General Assembly in Vancouver Canada. What a fantastic introduction, I witnessed the unique FSC democracy in action as members meet to discuss, debate and vote on motions that set out the pathway forward for responsible forestry. It was an opportune time to join the organisation, to meet the vibrant FSC membership and gain insights into where FSC is going to next.

Local office FSC Canada hosted the event, and traditional owners, Haida Nation warmly welcome us to the land. Vancouver Canada, was a choice location, the city renowned for diversity and sustainability, the country known for beautiful landscapes and cultural heritage, it represented many of FSC’s member's values.

We heard from a wide array of speakers; from experts on forest ecosystems services to leading international brands from discussing the true value of forests to how companies can go beyond their supply chains.

It was empowering to see the membership highlight that FSC is not just for large forest holders. There was considerable support for smallholders. In the new approaches update, we learnt about issues smallholders care about and how to capture first-hand information about what’s missing.

The membership reinforced the growing market for Non-Timber Forest products, approving fast-tracking this project. Non-Timber Forest Products speaks to the innovation and relevance FSC has in our near future, with the potential to certify products from maple syrup to rubber gloves!

As a passionate climate change advocate, it was encouraging to see The Climate Motion passed, as FSC plans to add our voice and actively join the wider climate-change debate by celebrating FSC’s contributions to mitigating climate change.

FSC set the gold standard for forest management, so it was encouraging to see the same high standards in our governance. The discussion and decisions made by the membership at the 2017 General Assembly largely affirmed and validated FSC’s prior-established global strategic plan and governance review.

I am looking forward to our busy and bright future, ahead of the next General Assembly in 3 years.

- Sara Gipton, FSC Australia CEO

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