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Thursday, 04 June 2020
Policy Update from FSC Australia

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The disruption caused by COVID-19 to FSC certificate holders, FSC accredited certification bodies and FSC at large has had a range of policy implications.


This brief update provides an overview of the announcements, derogations and interpretation FSC has issued to address issues caused by the ongoing pandemic.
FSC has made several announcements about changes due to COVID-19.

For Certification Bodies not able to safely conduct onsite audits, FSC has issued a derogation creating more flexibility in some audit procedures, which is valid until 31 December 2020 or until withdrawn: https://www.fsc.org/en/newsfeed/new-covid-19-updat […]

For Group Certificates, FSC has issued an interpretation clarifying that internal audits of participating sites may be performed remotely where health risks prevent traveling to the site. The interpretation is valid until 31 December 2020, or until withdrawn: https://fsc.org/en/news/covid-19-interpretation-fo […]

The FSC General Assembly will be postponed until 2021, following a decision by the FSC International Board of Directors to protect the health and safety of our members, staff, supporters, and others. The event will still be held in Bali, Indonesia, and the new date is forthcoming: https://fsc.org/en/news/fsc-general-assembly-postp […]

COVID-19 Derogations and Interpretation
FSC has released and continues to update the derogations and interpretation listed below. These provide allowances for certification bodies unable to conduct on-site audits and address other COVID-19 situations.

FSC-DER-2020-001 (Updated 7 May): Provides increased flexibility for most kinds of FM and CoC audits through the use of desk audits. The derogation does not address CoC main audits. The derogation is valid until 31 December 2020, or until withdrawn.

FSC-DER-2020-003 (Effective 16 April): Allows companies to use virgin fibre for tissue and hygiene products carrying the FSC Recycled label. The derogation is valid until 30 June 2020

FSC-DER-2020-005 (Effective 11 May): Provides increased flexibility for CoC main audits. The derogation is valid until 31 December 2020.

FSC-DER-2020-006 (Effective 30 April): Allows for a decrease in the minimum percentage of FSC material required for an FSC Mix Percentage claim and FSC Mix label when linked to a plan for recovery of volumes following the crisis. The derogation is valid until 31 October 2020.

CoC Interpretation (INT-STD-40-003_05, updated 7 May): Allows central offices the option of desk audits (remote audits) for all types of participating sites. The interpretation is valid until 31 December 2020, or until withdrawn.

Any certificate holder who would like to take advantage of the flexibility provided by these derogations will need to work with their certification body to ensure that the necessary preconditions are in place.

Find the newest COVID-related updates and information from FSC International here: https://www.fsc.org/en/news?category=271

Deadline Extensions
The deadline of the public consultation on the first draft of FSC’s Conversion Remedy Procedure has been extended until 30 June 2020.

The public consultation on the first draft of the standard FSC International Generic Indicators for the use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides was extended until 30 April 2020.

If you have questions, please contact Policy and Standards Manager Stefan Jensen on s.jensen at au.fsc point org or 0407 606 633.


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