South African Standards Development Group News

December 10, 2015


Keep an eye on this page for regular updates and communications from the Standards Development Group (SDG-SA). You will be able to download the draft National FSC® Standard and comments form here when it is released, as well as follow the process of consultation and revision of the standard.

Release of first draft imminent
SDG-SA is almost ready to release the first draft National FSC standard. Watch this space! See the standard development process timeline below for details.

Background information on National FSC Standard revision

What is the FSC?
The Forestry Stewardship Council is an independent, international forest management certification scheme. The mission of FSC is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. Certification is a market-driven tool to achieve the goal of sustainable management of forests and plantations worldwide. Globally, over 180 million hectares of productive forests and plantations are FSC certified. In South Africa, 80% of timber plantations are FSC certified.

FSC homepage:

Why revise the National FSC Standard?


Small-scale growers at Ozwathini, KwaZulu-Natal, attend a field day on tending black wattle, which they grow as a commercial crop. A project is under way to provide the small-scale growers with access to certification.

The basis for FSC certification is a performance standard set out in the FSC Principles and Criteria. In 2012 the FSC released revised Principles and Criteria (P&C version 5), followed by a set of International Generic Indicators (IGIs) in April 2015. The purpose of the indicators is to make FSC certification more consistent across different countries.

South Africa has embarked on the process of adapting the SA National FSC Standard to the new Principles and Criteria. The process is being led and coordinated by the Standards Development Group (SDG-SA). During the revision, FSC requires that each of the International Generic Indicators (IGI) is compared to the existing national indicators and the best option chosen. If an IGI is modified or not used, justification has to be provided.

The revision process is an opportunity to develop a South African FSC Standard that is more responsive to the South African plantation forestry context and allows fair access to certification by growers at all scales.

Link: FSC IGIs:

SA Standards Development Group (SDG-SA)
The Standards Development Group comprises six people, two each from the economic, social and environmental chambers. The members are David Lindley and Steve Germishuizen (Environmental Chamber), Karen Kirkman and David Everard (Economic Chamber) and Jeanette Clarke and Catherine Sutherland (Social Chamber). The role of the SDG is to lead the process to develop the new national Standard. The SDG has adopted a hands-on approach and has been working jointly on developing the first draft standard, drawing on their extensive experience in the timber sector and with FSC certification in South Africa.

Consultation and co-development
The SDG is committed to the principle of knowledge co-development and to active engagement of FSC stakeholders in South Africa in developing the new FSC standard. There was extensive and focused consultation with specialists and interest groups during the development of the first draft set of indicators. From mid-December 2015 until the middle of 2016, the SDG will be embarking on a process of consultation to review and further revise the draft standard. The consultative review process will comprise the following key activities:

Broad-based consultation: The Draft Standard will be emailed to an extensive mailing list of stakeholders from all three FSC chambers and across the spectrum of growers in South Africa, along with a request for submission of inputs. The draft standard will also be posted to this page on the SA Forestry website. If you want to be on this mailing list, and have not already received communication from the SDG by email, please email your details to the Co-ordinator:

Chamber-based focused consultation. SDG members will directly engage key interest groups and experts within their respective chambers around important issues and contentious indicators.

Forest testing. The draft indicators will be tested in different grower contexts to make sure they are applicable to all scales of growers and to the local context.


Download links to documents

SDG-SA Newsletters


SDG Co-ordinator:

FSC Africa Office: Chris Burchmore:

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