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Clearly describing what we mean makes all the difference.  Please see the following terminology to help inform your feedback.

FSC:  As the world’s most trusted forest certification, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) helps consumers and companies identify and purchase products from responsibly managed forests. Our mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world's forests.

Mixing:  Much like renewable energy -- which is mixed with non-renewable sources on the electrical grid -- FSC allows certified manufacturers to mix wood and fiber from FSC certified forests with non-certified materials to produce ‘FSC Mix’ labeled products. In this way, manufacturers that would not otherwise be able to participate in FSC can become part of the system; helping to drive certification of forests through their demand for certified forest materials.

Controlled Wood:  FSC has established an additional safeguard for when mixing occurs; requiring that non-certified materials be controlled to reduce the risk of sourcing from places where objectionable forestry practices occur (such as harvesting that threatens high conservation values or the conversion of forests to non-forest uses). The material subject to this risk mitigation is referred to as Controlled Wood.

Control Measure:  The FSC standard that covers the use of Controlled Wood requires that a certified manufacturer must implement actions to avoid or mitigate risk, prior to using materials from any area with an identified risk level greater than ‘low.’ These actions are termed Control Measures. The FSC US Controlled Wood National Risk Assessment defines the Control Measures that are mandatory in the conterminous US (i.e., ‘Lower 48’ states; not including Hawaii, Alaska or US territories).

Risk:  The risk in question is the risk of using materials from specific objectionable places, such as places where significant environmental values are threatened by forest management activities or where forest is being converted to non-forest uses. For the area assessed, the FSC US Controlled Wood Risk Assessment defines where this risk is greater than low (termed ‘specified risk area’) and, therefore, where Control Measures must be implemented if a manufacturer wishes to use non-certified forest materials from that area in an ‘FSC Mix’ labeled product.

Mitigate:  FSC does not have a specific definition for ‘mitigate.’ Therefore, the Oxford English Dictionary is the best source for a definition: “To moderate (the severity, rigor, heinousness, etc.) of something”.  Mitigate means to reduce severity of risk; it does not mean that the risk must be completely eliminated. For the purpose of mixing and Controlled Wood, ‘mitigation’ is not used by FSC in the context of ‘wetlands mitigation’ – compensation for damages that are knowingly caused is NOT a form of acceptable mitigation. 

FSC US Controlled Wood National Risk Assessment:

The National Risk Assessment (NRA) identifies a number of areas of specified risk (where risk is greater than ‘low’) associated with: 1) High Conservation Values – concentrations of biodiversity (multiple species or individual species) and rare forest types that are threatened by forest management activities, and 2) counties where forest conversion has a higher likelihood of occurring (based upon a combination of high population growth and high numbers of building permits issued). 

The NRA also defines the Control Measures required for a certified manufacturer that wishes to ‘control’ and use non-certified materials from any of the above defined areas of specified risk. There is one Control Measure choice for addressing risk associated with High Conservation Values – which requires implementation of one or more mitigation options (commensurate with the scale and intensity of the Organization’s potential impact on the forests in the region). There are two Control Measures choices for addressing risk associated with forest conversion, one of which is similar to that for High Conservation Values, but a second one is added by which a certified manufacturer acknowledges the use of materials from limited and legal forest conversions AND implements one or more mitigation options.


Mitigation Option:  Defined and limited options for how a certificate holder can reduce the risk of sourcing from objectionable places by implementing mitigation actions within the landscape of the specified risk area that will either, as needed: a) reduce threats to High Conservation Values from forest management activities; and/or b) reduce the rates of forest conversion across the landscape. The intended outcome, particularly when similar actions are implemented by multiple certificate holders within the same landscape, is to reduce the risk of sourcing from places where objectionable activities are occurring. Mitigation options for each specified risk area are defined in the applicable FSC US Controlled Wood Regional Meeting Report.


FSC US Controlled Wood Regional Meeting:  The forum for developing the mitigation options that are required by certified companies to implement the Control Measures defined in the FSC US Controlled Wood National Risk Assessment, and therefore be able to control and use forest material from specified risk areas.

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