The revised Policy for Association (PfA) complaint procedure – allowing for swifter processes and better outcomes for forests and people – will be tested in 2021.
The updated procedure as approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) International Board of Directors introduces a variety of routes for resolving cases and marks a new phase in how FSC manages PfA complaints. For example, it introduces alternative dispute resolution approaches, use of external experts and new options for sanctioning companies engaged in wrongdoing. As well as safeguarding FSC’s reputation, the changes will help FSC to focus on the best possible outcomes to complaints. See the process page here for more details, including FAQs and a crosswalk from the previous version of the procedure.
The previous PfA procedure was last updated in 2014 and had some gaps that needed to be addressed to improve efficiency and allow FSC to act swiftly and in a targeted manner.
FSC will now hire experts for investigations instead of a complaint panel and will form external three-person decision panels per case to ensure transparency and speed.
The procedure will run on a trial basis for the next year and a half, during which FSC will review how the procedure is working and whether course correction is needed. FSC will continue to align the procedure with other related developments in the FSC system, such as the Policy for Association that defines the unacceptable activities and the scope of companies that they apply to, to be revised in 2021.
The new procedure will be effective for all PfA complaint cases where a complaint panel has not been established before 31 December 2020.