Welcome to the Webpage for the New Zealand Standard Development Group for the National Standard for Certification of
A group of key parties interested in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in
A National Initiative Working Group (NIWG) governed by an interim National Initiative commenced work on a National Standard for Certification of Plantation Forest Management in New Zealand in 2001. After one round of consultation the NIWG developed a second draft for consultation in 2003. However, the NIWG were unable to agree on some issues, primarily reserve contribution, and the NIWG was disbanded after the second consultation round. The second Draft was held in impasse until November 2009 when a group representing most plantation forest owners, major environmental organisations and key social and Maori interests decided to form a Standard Development Group (SDG) and re-commence standard development in accordance with FSC procedures. It was agreed that the second Draft document from the previous negotiation would we used as the base document for standard development, and the SDG made a public announcement of that intent in June 2010.
Update (May 2013)
The Standard Development Group has replied to FSC on each of the 4 pre-conditions. To date pre-condition 4 has been met on the provision that Unions will be able to participate in the transfer of the new Principles and Criteria into the NZ standard. FSC are currently considering the Standard Development Group’s response on the remaining 3 pre-conditions and we expect a response soon.
Update (December 2012)
The standard was approved by the FSC Policy and Standard Committee on 30 October 2012 and notified to the NZ SDG on 6 October. However, the approval is subject to four conditions that the SDG is currently working on:
Pre-Condition 1: Develop indicators that will ensure the strong testing and verification of the hierarchical prioritisation of reserve set-aside requirements under criteria 6.2, 6.4 and 10.5, and a decision tree is developed to make this process clearer for plantation managers to understand. This is to ensure protection and restoration of on-site ecosystem reserve areas is the priority and seeking off-site areas is very much a last resort.
Pre-Condition 2: Add indicators that require a management plan and the securing of use rights to the off-site reserve areas (in effect these areas become part of the MU), to ensure there is a long-term commitment in these areas to the Principles and Criteria of FSC.
Pre-Condition 3: To ensure a level of international standards consistency, revise indicator 10.5.1 to be applicable to large operations and to ‘a minimum of 5% of the MU shall be managed so as to retain it as or restore it to the condition of natural ecosystems appropriate to the locale of the MU. This area shall be included in the minimum 10% of identified conservation zones, representative samples, and reserve set-asides in accordance with criteria 6.2, and 6.4, and indicators 10.5.2 to 10.5.7.’
Comment: The proposed innovations and adaptations of the NZ standard that are departures from the current international baseline indicator requirements have been accepted (along with the preconditions above) in consideration of the particular set of circumstances of the NZ standard. Firstly, for many MUs there had been a separation of the plantation production areas from the natural ecosystem reserves with the management of the reserves taken over the government Dept of Conservation, and the plantations privatised as leases. Secondly, the land use history over the last 1000 years meant some landscapes now had extremely low levels of indigenous vegetation cover within what is a country of small and varied landscapes, meaning representative samples of natural ecosystems were rare. And finally, with approximately 40% of the plantation area being ‘farm foresters’ that qualify as SLIMFs, the standard innovations and adaptations were to facilitate their certification.
Pre-Cond. 4. Demonstrate evidence of representation and consultation of workers (especially the Unions) in the standards development process. If not, then conduct an additional process to seek their input before finalisation of the standard. As is the case with any stakeholder group, if there had been or is insufficient response, then the SDG shall provide details of whom was contacted and what efforts were made to solicit their participation and comments on the standard.
Update (February 2012)
A final version (5.5) of the Draft Pre-Approved Standard was re-submitted to FSC in February 2012. This version was primarily a result of some corrections to comply with FSC guidance on standard development and formatting. The notable exception was the removal of the conversion exception for multiple owned Maori land that had reverted to natural vegetation from farmland. The exception did not meet with core FSC policy meaning the standard could not be endorsed with its inclusion. Understandably this was disappointing for the Maori Chamber in particular, whom were extremely reluctant to agree. However, in the interest of progress and preserving the hard work of not just the Standard Development Group but also participating stakeholders the Maori Chamber graciously agreed to “temporarily” remove the exception. The matter will now be addressed with FSC through other channels.
Despite the approval of the revised FSC Principles and Criteria, FSC is accepting national standards for appraisal and endorsement under the former version of the Principles and Criteria until the end of February 2012. Standards submitted in this timeframe that meet with FSC guidelines will be considered by the “approval committee” in April 2012. We are nervously awaiting the outcome.
Version 5.5 of the draft standard can be found on our documents download page.