Certification past Europe
China’s rising significance because the processing nation for Europe and North America has introduced with it a rising starvation for uncooked materials within the booming Asian international locations. Forest certification, launched 20 years in the past, supposed to incentivise higher tropical forest administration however it largely turned a phenomenon of the western international locations themselves. Certification requirements superior in Europe and North America, serving the eco-concerned area of interest markets with timber merchandise sourced from nicely managed forests and managed mills.
Asia’s dominance out there modifications issues; provide chains of licensed merchandise are globalising and extremely complicated. Licensed timber is being produced in increasingly international locations, shipped across the globe to be processed in low cost labour international locations like China and Vietnam earlier than being shipped once more to the ultimate markets.
Criticisms of Chain of Custody certification
Whereas forest administration and Chain of Custody (CoC) certification has been examined throughout its first decade in “protected” environments in Europe and North America, implementing and sustaining certificates in “medium” and “excessive” threat international locations is much tougher. This globalisation of provide chains has put the idea of forest and CoC certification underneath extreme stress for the final decade.
Certification schemes have all the time remained underneath excessive strain by stakeholders and the evolving market to adapt their requirements and programs. PEFC and FSC are outstanding of their openness to contemplate and reply to stakeholder perceptions and experiences, which is kind of distinctive within the sector of sustainability certification. They function probably the most credible sustainability certification schemes worldwide. The perfect schemes, nonetheless, are usually not proof against abuse and fraud in a world the place 50% of the merchandise traded on the worldwide market are fakes.
Current stakeholder criticism of FSC and PEFC pertains to this concern on CoC certification and goal the dearth of monitoring of the licensed product circulation. Chain of custody certification solely confirms that the corporate theoretically has the capability and proper to deal with licensed merchandise, however in follow they might not deal with any licensed uncooked materials in any respect. On condition that CoC audits are solely snapshots of the scenario undertaken yearly in introduced audits, it’s nearly unimaginable for auditors to detect fraud and false labelling which may have occurred all year long. As Scott Poynton has highlighted, the explosion of certificates being issued, specifically in China, has seen the scheme being abused as a method to falsely promote wooden as FSC or PEFC. Corporations assist themselves to these licensed labels to “inexperienced” their enterprise; the pre-announced audits can solely present a short snapshot of their CoC system.
The rising complexity of provide chains, issues over false labelling and the absence of monitoring of the product circulation within the provide chain are key points dealing with CoC certification. Nevertheless, we should not abandon the basic idea of forest and CoC certification. No short-term alternate options presently exist to regulate an environmentally and socially accountable commerce in wooden merchandise. Even within the context of the EU Timber Regulation, probably the most environment friendly and most secure means the European timber business can show compliance is to buy licensed or these merchandise produced in low threat international locations. Notably as no Voluntary Partnership Settlement (VPA) licenses have been issued but verifying the authorized origin of timber from VPA international locations, as has been highlighted by Jade Saunders in her Chatham Home report.
So let’s not condemn CoC certification, as a substitute see it because the essential instrument it’s. Certainly, options have already been proposed to make it a safer mechanism in an more and more demanding and sophisticated surroundings. These options relate to extra due diligence, common unbiased controls in factories, and monitoring and documentation of precise motion of licensed merchandise by way of provide chains utilizing traceability capabilities. Varied organisations are providing essential providers to fill the gaps within the present CoC implementation, resembling Nepcon, Bureau Veritas, SGS, TFT, Efeca and Rainforest Alliance. They provide fingers on help all through provide chains with due diligence implementation and verification, partly supported by IT options.
In home due diligence and traceability programs have change into an rising necessity to the timber product business, largely because of new laws. The Lacey Act, EU Timber Regulation and the American Logging Invoice have raised the bar for sourcing accountable timber merchandise. Whereas firms nonetheless attempt to generate most accountable merchandise utilizing licensed uncooked materials, demand is more and more outstripping provide; the volumes of licensed timber are usually not sufficient. To supply extra accountable and authorized materials, firms can use their very own due diligence or traceability system to fulfill legislative necessities.
These options and approaches are all essential items of the puzzle for fixing accountable sourcing points. All of them have their regional, product or business strengths. Nevertheless, as a result of service suppliers, certification schemes and organisations all use barely totally different approaches it stays a problem for companies to undertake. The strategies, kinds of info gathered and programs used, for instance, might not match an organization’s personal inside system and knowledge administration ideally.
On the one hand, competitors is essential and variations between approaches and programs should stay. On the opposite, the multitude of various programs – with barely differing ideas and approaches – makes it extremely demanding to take care of the reporting and documentation necessities.
Radix Tree – taking Chain of Custody certification into the long run
The platform Radix Tree is a method to beat this problem, taking due diligence, CoC and forest certification into a brand new decade. Radix Tree is a multi-stakeholder platform for implementing actual time product traceability and sustainability reporting; connecting you along with your total provide chain on the identical time. The platform offers the chance to serve all stakeholders concerned within the due diligence course of throughout the provide chain, be it purchasers, authorities or sustainability providers suppliers. Radix Tree is a novel means to consolidate the various puzzle items of due diligence and sustainable sourcing into one single method of information administration.
Think about Radix Tree to be a social community in a extremely protected surroundings the place you’ve got full management over your knowledge. You may handle info related to your environmental or social duty reporting and you’ll resolve with which accomplice organisation you share which piece of knowledge. Radix Tree can be utilized to share info between one tier of your suppliers and purchasers or to hint a product’s total journey from supply to retailer. The system means that you can do precisely what serves your sustainability reporting, due diligence system and certification functions.
In follow, it means a person can doc licensed merchandise streams by way of real-time product traceability for any CoC system they’re concerned in – if, when and the place mandatory. In a single and the identical account the person may hint uncertified product flows – for his or her in home due diligence implementation, for instance. Some other product or firm info essential to enterprise or sustainability companions could be managed in parallel to all different actions on the platform. Radix tree shouldn’t be restricted to particular schemes and packages; its interface is simple to adapt to the necessities of any program, certification scheme, provider, consumer, certification physique or public procurement company. It represents probably the most price environment friendly and simple resolution to the problems outlined above.
- Finest Papers is PEFC licensed and a person on the Radix Tree platform. After every comply with up audit PEFC updates Finest Papers’ certificates info, this updates are in actual time on their Radix Tree account.
- Finest Papers additionally makes use of Radix Tree for its sustainability reporting to its consumer Finest Meals.
- Finest Meals requires bi-annual updates on the sustainability traits of the packaging materials they purchase from Finest Papers.
- Finest Papers stories these on a product stage to Finest Meals.
- Finest Papers can select to share their PEFC info to Finest Meals which massively provides to the sustainability credibility of the merchandise and save Finest Meals a number of time to acquire this info.
Jade Saunders and Rosalind Reeve, The EU Timber Regulation and CITES, Chatham Home, 1st April 2014
Scott Poynton, Past Certification, Do Sustainability, Sedition Publishing, Might 2015