Enhancing Sustainability: The Role of FSC SDG in South Africa

The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) SDG, or Standards Development Group, is a vital entity tasked with the responsibility of reviewing,refining and updating the FSC South African National Standard. In a recent SDG inception workshop held at Mondi on November 22nd and 23rd, participants delved into the intricacies of the process and familiarised themselves with the requirements.

Meet the SDG

The SDG comprises six individuals, with representation from the economic, social and environmental chambers:

  • Environmental Chamber:
    • Prof. Coert Geldenhuys (Freelance Forest Ecologist, Forestwood CC)
    • Jacqui Meyer (Consultant)
  • Economic Chamber:
    • Brent Corcoran (Certification & Environmental Manager: Forestry, Mondi)
    • Axel Jooste (Group Scheme Manager, Sappi)
  • Social Chamber:
    • Makale Ngwenya (Senior Researcher, South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union)
    • Justin Nyakudanga (Development Forestry Consultant, Tapuwa Rural Solutions)

Rationale for Revision

The current National Standard (FSC-STD-ZAF-01-2017 V1-0) is scheduled for revision in March 2024, which will see items such as the Natural Forests, Non-timber forest products,  small and low intensity managed forests and the Pesticide Policy International Generic Indicators (IGIs) incorporated, and as well as a  streamlining of the Standard.

Review Process and Timeline

Despite the urgency for a revised standard, the meticulous FSC process demands patience. The new SDG and the revision process is expected to be registered before March 2024, thus ensuring that the current standard remains effective until the comprehensive review is concluded. The revision process involves two rounds of public consultation and potential forest testing to assess auditability, especially concerning new indicators. Subsequently, the draft will undergo scrutiny by FSC PSU and the FSC Policy and Standards Committee for approval. We therefore expect the revision to take between 18 to 24 months, although it should be stressed this is just an estimated timeframe and one that underscores the thoroughness and commitment to maintaining FSC's stringent standards.

By Jacqui Meyer, TIPWG Coordinator

Forestry visuals courtesy Forestry South Africa