National Standard Implementation

Implementation information for forest managers and certification bodies

Standard implementation timeline10 February 2019 - effective date, start of phase in period

  • The Australian Forest Stewardship Standard will be effective from 10 February 2019, this is called the 'effective date'.
  • From 10 Feb 2019 there will be a 12 month phase in period in which FSC certified forest managers have 12 months to transition to the new standard.
  • During the phase in period, FSC certified forest managers must be audited against the new National Forest Management Standard.
  • We advise forest managers to consider carrying out an additional ‘gap audit’ at your next audit, to assess what changes, if any, will be required to meet the new standard.

10 February 2020 - end phase in period

  • From the end of the 12 month phase in period, all certificate holders and new applicants must be evaluated against the new standard.

10 August 2020 - 18 months after the effective date

  • 18 months after the effective date all certificates issued to the interim standards (Principles and Criteria v4 Interim Standards) will be regarded invalid. By this time, all forest management certificates must have undergone an audit under the new standard.
  • FSC Australia advise certified forest managers to make sure that they arrange an audit against the new standard within this 18 month period.

Update to implementation timeline

FSC Australia recognises that having to conduct a full re-certification audit is prohibitively expensive and presents a strain on the resources of Certification Bodies (CB) operating in the country.

To ease this burden FSC Australia have developed a guidance (below) document to detail a simplified process for this phase in period.

The guidance document states that any certificate holders scheduled for a surveillance audit during the phase in period can conduct a gap analysis of the differences between the interim standard and the NFSS during the surveillance audit to ensure they comply with the NFSS.

Certificate holders can refer to the IGI transfer matrix below when conducting their gap analyses.

Please note, the guidance document is not a normative document.

The rest of the timeline advice remains the same.

Interpretations – what do I do if I need something clarified or interpreted in the Standard?

If you have a question about a section of the National Standard and require an interpretation, you may submit a formal interpretation request to the National Office.

The National Office, together with the Board’s Policy and Standard subcommittee (PSC) is responsible for developing interpretations that will serve as normative documents.

The interpretations will be published and housed on the National Standard page on the FSC Australia website.

Interpretations relating to FSC international standards will still be required to be submitted to the FSC International Policy and Standards Unit. You can keep up to date on progress on the FSC International website.

Support for forest managers and auditors

National Standard Overview Webinar

This webinar, presented by Suzette Weeding, Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the FSC Australia Standard Development Group, provides a high level overview of the FSC Australian national standard aimed at forest managers and certification bodies.

The webinar includes discussion of:

  • free, prior, and informed consent requirements,
  • industrial relations provisions,
  • HCVs, including old growth forest,
  • considerations for SLIMF/smallholder operations

Suzette Weeding is the General Manager Land Management, Sustainable Timber Tasmania and was a member of the FSC Australia Standard Development Group (SDG) that developed the national standard over five years.

Listen to the webinar recording (39.25 mins)

The forest manager forum is an online space for forest managers to meet and discuss the standard with peers from across the country. Forest managers are free to use the forum to discuss and share strategies for implementing the standard in your site, or simply meet other forest managers and take your discussion offline. For access to the forum please contact FSC Australia.

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