The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has announced that they will suspend FSC certificates in the invaded regions of Ukraine, with effect from 4 May 2022.
According to FSC, this reason for this decision took into account how government legislation “cannot be enforced” in Ukraine conflict regions, and it is “not safe” for auditors to carry out their work. Such factors increase the risks of forests not being managed according to FSC’s standards.
However, FSC remains determined to continue to support Ukrainian certificate holders as far as possible, and therefore will allow certification bodies – the independent auditors of FSC certificate holders – to continue their work in areas not affected by war, for example through remote audits and extending the time between audits to over a year, if required.
FSC reported that they have worked closely with colleagues based in Ukraine to provide as clear as possible guidance on where the armed conflict zones are.
For this purpose, FSC has identified three categories of Ukraine information sources regarding the location of conflict zones:
- Public sources, including but not limited to, Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, The Armed Forces of Ukraine, The State Emergency Service of Ukraine, and more.
- The Ukraine State Forest Resources Agency (for state-owned forests)
- Directly from local authorities within Ukraine.
Certificate holders importing FSC material from Ukraine are required to amend their supply chain due diligence to avoid sourcing from zones of armed conflict.