Bali is a fantastic place to take a vacation, but there was no time to explore on this trip; the FSC General Assembly was here and highlighting that certificate holders, i.e. our clients, needed equitable and understandable systems to follow was top on my to-do list.Chris Gibbons at FSC General Assembly

If you’ve never been to an FSC General Assembly meeting, what typically happens is a big get-together, a celebration of the folks in attendance, a lot of networking, many discussionsaround standards, practices, and systems, and vote after vote on the future direction of FSC. It’s a policy wonk’s dream.

Like most large entities with a high level of bureaucracy, there were some frustrations about rules and procedures, but the overall sense of stewardship for our world’s forests was pervasive.

The FSC invites organizations, like American Green Consulting,to co-create materials, and this year we were accepted to create a poster presentation about why Chain of Custody standards should be simple to implement (and how we support those CoC standards through our CoC portal and kit options). We provided the subject matter expertise, while FSC designed the poster and provided us with paper copies. We also supported and provided input on a poster by the CoC Group Network, an international association of small businesses, on the value of group certification in the FSC system.

Moving on to the General Assembly motions, FSC members voted 96% in favor of FSC Group Members receiving individualized trademark license codes. While still tied to the group manager, those are recognized separately on the website, making finding group members easier, and promoting their valuable work toward protecting the world’s forests. There was also a motion that passed regardingAssurance Services International (the oversight/audit firm for CBs), which will improve checks and balances on ASI to ensure fairness and transparency during auditor audits, something AGC has been advocating for since 2014.

At this FSC General Assembly, the FSC’s financial report was met with a new level of questions and interest. American Green was the primary motioner on the Financial Transparency Motion that passed with unanimous support in 2014, but getting FSC to meet the bar set in that motion has been a struggle With the interest on this topic at this GA, the membership indicated that they are taking a more active role in the stewardship of the FSC’s practices, which hopefully will lead to an even greater level of transparency from FSC.

For members with questions about anything Assembly related, want more ways to advocate for transparency in reporting, or to learn more about our Chain of Custody work, please do reach out.

FSC is a member driven organization, and American Green will always be there, advocating for our clients, and the FSC system as a whole. I look forward to participating again in 2025.