Shaping the implementation of the FSC standard: the case of auditors in Brazil

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Piketty, M.G.
Garcia Drigo, I.
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The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label is one of the most widely accepted standards aimed at assessing long-term sustainable forest management worldwide. Through audits, accredited certification bodies assess the level of conformity of a firm's performance against the standard to grant or not the certificate on behalf of the FSC. In this paper, we assess the scope auditors have to shape the implementation of the FSC standard in Brazil. Our work is based on the analysis of certification bodies' rules and of available public full assessment and annual audit reports covering the period 2009–2013, completed with interviews with key informants. We show that most indicators of the Brazilian FSC standard leave no scope for interpretation. However, firms are certified and re-certified with a significant number of minor non-conformance with social, legal and environmental indicators. Moreover, the gradual improvement of the performance of the firm cannot always be considered as final. We conclude that some indicators are too broad and need to be clarified, that the FSC should limit the number of minor non-conformance issues allowed and prohibit their recurrence. More systematic surveys could narrow possible interpretations by auditors and certification bodies.

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Forests, Greater Mekong Area, Certification, Responsible Forestry, Value Chains, Deforestation, State of The Forests, Smallholders, Rattan, Rubber
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