AGC Travel Suspended Through June 30, 2021
Due to the current situation concerning COVID-19, American Green has suspended staff travel through June 30, 2021 (and perhaps longer).
And since so much of our business, and the FSC certification system in general, is tied to travel to our clients’ sites, we wanted to outline the possible impacts on how AGC does business and provides service to you during this crisis.
Is AGC Still Open?
Yes! Even though we aren’t traveling right now, we are still working out of our home offices. Please reach out to any of us during regular business hours with any questions you may have.
How Does This Travel Suspension Impact You?
For most of our clients, this is simply informative, so you are aware that our team may call you to discuss alternatives to an on-site visit when your target visit month rolls around.
For our clients who have travel scheduled already, or are on our travel calendar for upcoming months, we will be reaching out to you individually to discuss our options for you.
FSC International Approves Desk Reviews
FSC International has released COVID-19-related interpretations of the multisite/group standard for internal audits, allowing us to conduct desk reviews in lieu of on-site reviews for existing multisite/group members. These interpretations are valid through December 31, 2021.
What This Means For AGC Clients
- Jess will be reaching out to all our sites/members to schedule your 2021 virtual desk review, if she hasn’t already. We will look at subsequent months, as appropriate from there.
- Keep an eye on your inbox for additional AGC updates as our global situation continues to unfold.
Details of November 2020 derogation update for Group/Multi-Site certificate holders
- A recent amendment to derogation FSC-DER-2020-005 provides measures for certification bodies to temporarily use remote audits for main (initial) evaluations, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This amendment includes an option for group/multi-site managers to add new members using remote audits based on the same type of risk assessment that the certification body conducts.
Key details of May 2021 derogation update about Remote CoC Audits
- Extension of the validity of the derogation to end December 2021 (in alignment with other COVID derogations)
- Permitting Stage II audits (for certificate holders with a ‘medium’ risk assessment) to be done either as surveillance audits, or, where on-site surveillance audits are not possible due to health/travel restrictions, undertake Stage II/surveillance audits as permitted for surveillance audits in DER-2020-001
- Removing the requirement for CBs to do quarterly reporting to FSC of the Certificate holders using the derogation
📣 For FSC’s most up-to-date COVID-19 derogations, interpretations, and FAQs, visit their COVID-19 response page.
Exploring An AGC Pilot Program
In the spirit of exploring alternatives to travel, we are running a pilot program that involves mobile video auditing.
- Using FaceTime or WhatsApp (or similar program), one of your on-site staff will walk around with the video conferencing app open while our team conducts the audit in the same way that they would while on site (including staff interviews, site walk-around, etc.).
- We would couple this with the emailing of required documentation.
- These sessions would be recorded (held confidentially), and be used to create a white paper showcasing whether video audits could be effective, now and beyond the current crisis.
- If you be interested in participating in this pilot program, please contact us.
Like everyone else, we aren’t certain what’s next. We do know, however, that as a business, we simply need to make sure we’re part of the solution and do what we can to keep everyone safe. Thank you for your patience and for working with us as we look for alternative solutions for on-site audits.
If you have questions or would like to discuss more, please feel free to contact AGC’s president, Chris Gibbons, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more ongoing information and updates from FSC US, visit their COVID-19: Ongoing Updates page.