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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/2484

Title: Environmental aspects of the forest management certification process
Other Titles: Impacts of forest certification
Authors: Scott, DF
Keywords: Environment
Certification process
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: IIED & CSIR
Citation: Scott, D.F. 2000. Envirommental aspects of the forest management certification process. Instruments for sustainable private sector forestry, South Africa series. International Institute for Environment and Development and CSIR-Environmentek, London and Pretoria, pp 19
Abstract: Certification has been responsible for a very large improvement in the standard of forest management in South Africa. The reasons for the positive role of certification are set out briefly below. Firstly, and most importantly, certification has provided the motivation or impetus for issues other than short-term profitability to be taken seriously by the companies. Companies would probably still prefer to have a certificate without having to give too much attention or funding to many of the issues raised by certification. But because of the commercial imperative of certification, many issues that were previously overlooked now receive full attention. Part of how this works is by convincing top management that such matters have to be given serious attention and are not simply optional extras. In many cases, certification works by strengthening the hand of good foresters who have always known how work should have been done (particularly with respect to environmental matters) but could not give these equal importance in their management. Secondly, is the importance of setting the agenda. The FSC certification sets a broad standard that encompasses a very wide range of issues. The result is that the audit checklist now contains many more new issues than would have been considered part of management in the past. Most of the social issues would not have been on the agenda in the past and this has to be a major achievement of FSC certification, especially given the dedicated move by timber companies toward outsourcing all services (contracting). Some environmental issues (such as monitoring) now enjoy attention from an independent and more rational perspective than the companies were able to provide when setting their own agenda. Previously, with internal audits or even where an industry-wide standard has been set, many issues did not receive attention. {This point would probably not apply to ISO 14000 certification.} Thirdly, FSC certification has introduced an independent, absolute and specific forestry standard. Previously in the forest industry in South Africa, auditing was done more to raise awareness and educate foresters on the issues. Rating was on a basis of ranking performance within a company (“who has done the most on environmental aspects”). In many cases the independent standard is much higher, as well as being broader. {This point would not necessarily apply to ISO 14000 certification.}
Description: A report prepared as part of the South Africa Country Study for the international collaborative research project steered by IIED: Instruments for sustainable private sector forestry Partners in the South Africa Country study: CSIR-Environmentek International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) In association with: Department for Water Affairs and Forestry South Africa
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/2484
Appears in Collections:International Institute for Environment and Development & CSIR
General science, engineering & technology

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