Adapting global standards to local needs
Our international sustainable forest management benchmark sets out the criteria and indicators we believe are vital for the sustainable management of any forest globally. However, the benchmark cannot address all the different forest types and situations found at country level.
This is because forests (and countries) are highly diverse. As is their management, legislation and law enforcement, local traditions, cultural and spiritual expectations, average property sizes and support structures. This diversity means there is more than one way to manage a forest sustainably.
That is why we work through national forest management standards, developed by local stakeholders. This enables countries to tailor their sustainable forest management requirements to their specific forest ecosystems, legal and administrative framework, socio-cultural context and other relevant factors.
Then, thanks to our endorsement process, we can ensure that while they are locally adapted, all national standards meet our benchmark. Every system is different, but all meet (and often exceed) global requirements. Take for example the national standard of Indonesia that, in addition to adherence to the ILO Fundamental Conventions, requires the forest management to pay a living wage to personnel.
National forest certification systems
The national forest management standard is part of a national forest certification system. A national system outlines the rules, procedures and management criteria for carrying out forest certification at national level, in line with our international requirements. It also incorporates all operational aspects involved in managing a forest certification system.
In some cases, countries come together to develop shared regional forest certification systems. This enables them to share resources and knowledge, while reducing the costs of developing and running their own national systems.
Our national members run these national systems, which include a range of standards. Besides the national forest management standard, their systems include requirements for group certification, standard setting, certification bodies and many more.
For us, how the national forest management standards are developed is as important as their final content. We therefore set out requirements for the national standard setting process, as well as performance and management requirements that national forest management standards must address.
Reaching out to more countries
An important aspect of our development work is enabling new countries to develop their own national forest certification systems. We run projects all over the world, supporting stakeholders as they go through the development process.