IN accordance with FSC International’s requirements for the maintenance of national forest stewardship standards, FSC ANZ has reviewed the Australian standard.

The review showed that while the standard is largely performing well, a revision is required to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

FSC ANZ CEO Damian Paull explains: “With an overall goal of maintaining continuity and consistency in the standard, the FSC ANZ board of directors has approved a targeted revision of the standard.”

He adds that “the targeted nature of the revision means that the necessary improvements identified in the review constitute the scope of its revision. We believe this will make for a smooth and efficient revision process, where the parts of the standard that work well will largely remain unchanged.”

The revision will address key issues identified by Australian standard users and the FSC ANZ membership to ensure the continued relevance of the standard. This includes issues related to Principle 2, Workers’ Rights, and the inclusion of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the standard.

Further, Mr Paull says that to ensure the standard continues to promote best-practice responsible forest management in the face of changing external circumstances, the revision will include an evaluation of how climate change and bushfire adaptation and mitigation strategies, as well as post-catastrophic disturbance options, can be supported by the existing framework of the standard.

Also included in the scope are relevant developments in the FSC normative framework since the standard was produced, most notably changes in FSC’s international generic indicators and the revision of the FSC pesticides policy.

Mr Paull says that subject to approval by the FSC ANZ board, additional indicators or topics can be added to the scope during the revision process.

In accordance with FSC International’s procedures, a chamber-balanced standards development group consisting of FSC ANZ members will be established to support the revision of the standard. A call for expressions of interest for membership of the standards development group will be issued in due course.

The revised standard must be recommended to FSC International’s board of directors by November 2024.