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Tuesday, 01 December 2015
Changes to FSC pesticides derogation process, and announcement of second round of consultation

Update on public consultation process – Australian applications for pesticide derogations


Key points

  • FSC International have changed the process for pesticide derogation suspending the need to submit applications for new derogations 
  • Despite the change, FSC Forest Managers will continue to update draft derogation applications based on stakeholder feedback received 
  • To provide a further opportunity to comment, a second round of stakeholder feedback will open on the 18 December for a further 5 weeks until 24 January 2016. 
  • Feedback can be submitted using the processes outlined on FSC Australia’s website

Update on public consultation process – Australian applications for pesticide derogations 
A group of 10 Australian forest companies, either FSC Certified or seeking certification, are developing derogation applications to enable the continued use of pesticides listed as FSC Highly Hazardous.  

The Forest Managers provided details through FSC Australia’s website for nine pesticide derogations – five for new chemicals recently added to FSC’s highlight hazardous list, and four for existing derogations that seek to be extended. The first round of consultation ran from 25 September to 16 November 2015 and attracted over 75 public submissions. 
 
As part of the engagement process an independent advisory group was setup to review derogation applications and analyse stakeholder feedback. A common theme emerged that the cost and benefit section of the derogation applications were incomplete as was some of the company specific Integrated Pest Management information. The advisory group met on Tuesday 24 November 2015 and suggested a number of changes including recommending a second round of engagement, whereas one round of engagement was originally planned. 
 
Forest managers are now developing final drafts of derogations to build in stakeholder feedback and specific information regarding costs and benefits. These new derogations are planned to be ready before Christmas and will be made available through FSC Australia’s website. An initial consultation report by independent stakeholder engagement expert Lain Dare will accompany the updated draft derogations applications on FSC Australia’s website. 
 
Stakeholders are invited to make comment on updated derogations application. Feedback can be provided directly through the 2015 FSC Highly Hazardous Pesticide Derogation Stakeholder Survey or by email to the National Coordinator Kevin O’Grady at kopinnacle at gmail point com

Updated applications will be available for further feedback for a period 5 weeks with comments closing on Sunday 24 January 2016.The advisory group will meet to review the second round of feedback and submitted material on Friday 29th January 2016. 
 
Due to changes by FSC International in November 2015 – see section below – not all derogations are required to be submitted however all applications will be updated based on feedback received in the first round of consultation. 

Post review of stakeholder feedback, final derogations applications will be prepared for submission through Forest Manager Certification Bodies by the deadline set by FSC International on 28th February 2016. FSC international have advised that this deadline is unlikely to be extended. The applications for the set of five new chemicals on the list will continue to be held submitted to FSC International but will not be processed until FSC decides on the best process to deal with the derogation process as outlined below. 

Changes to FSC International Derogation Process
FSC International has just made a decision to suspend the need to apply for new pesticide derogations (i.e. any that were added to the list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides in February 2015) and will allow use of these chemicals in the interim. 

FSC International Board of Directors at their 70th meeting in Finland in November 2015 discussed the upcoming revision of the FSC Pesticides Policy. The board made a number of key decisions that impact the submission of new derogations in Australia and around the world. 
 
First, the Board approved the Terms of Reference of an interest balanced Working Group to lead the revision of the Pesticides Policy document. The Working Group will prioritise developing a fundamental approach towards the use of pesticides in FSC certified operations. 

Second, the Board discussed the future of derogations in the FSC pesticides system. Given the focus of the Working Group, the FSC International Board elected to suspend the need to apply for derogations for the new active ingredients added to the FSC List of 'highly hazardous' pesticides (FSC-STD-30-001a) in its last update in February 2015. The suspension is expected to last until before the end of 2016 when the Working Group provides advice to the board. 
 
The impact of this decision means that companies currently submitting derogations for new chemicals added to the list of ‘highly hazardous’ do not need to apply until the FSC International Board make a decision late next year. Applications seeking to renew existing derogations are not impacted.
This means that five of the nine pesticide derogation applications sought in Australia no longer require submission to FSC International as part of this current process. New derogations applications for Cuprous oxide, Copper sulfate, Picloram, Glufosinate ammonium and Pindone are therefore suspended.
Existing derogation applications are not impacted. Applications seeking renewal of 1080, Amitrole, Alpha cypermethrin and Fipronyl are still required to be submitted to FSC International by 28 February 2016.


Changes to public consultation process – Australian applications for pesticide derogations
Despite the changes, the 10 Australian forest companies involved are committed to the consultation process and continuing to seek and respond to feedback from interested stakeholders. What were new derogation applications for Cuprous oxide, Copper sulfate, Picloram, Glufosinate ammonium and Pindone will continue to be updated based on stakeholder feedback including cost and benefit and other detailed sections of the derogation applications. The initial consultation report by independent engagement expert Lain Dare will continue to be updated with feedback on all proposed derogations and made public on FSC Australia’s website
 
Stakeholders are encouraged to make comment on the updated new derogation applications but should note that FSC International will not process them until they advise on the process for cancelling the suspension in late 2016. Forest Managers will continue to be allowed to use new pesticides inline with FSC’s Forest Management Standard. 

How can I get involved?
Forest Managers are still requesting feedback on all derogation applications. Updates to derogation applications will be posted on FSC Australia’s website by Friday 18th December 2015. 

Feedback on applications is welcomed during the period up to 24th January 2016. Feedback can be provided directly through the 2015 FSC Highly Hazardous Pesticide Derogation Stakeholder Survey or by email to the National Coordinator Kevin O’Grady at kopinnacle at gmail point com .


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