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UPM's Parallel field testing of forest certification standards indicates: Five standards promote economic, social and environmental forest management with differences in emphasis

Archive 24.5.2005 0:00 EEST

The parallel testing of forest certification standards started by UPM in summer 2004 shows that FFCS, the most commonly used standard in Finland, the Finnish draft FSC, Swedish FSC, North American SFI and UKWAS used in UK achieved a balanced approach, but with differences in emphasis to promoting the economic, social and environmental management of forests. Additionally the test gives valuable feed-back on the level of UPM's forest management against different certification standards.

Det Norske Veritas was the independent consultant assessor carrying out the field tests. WWF International acted as an external observer and provided technical advice to the process.

According to the test there are significant differences between the various standards in the number of criteria used for any one subject area, as well as in the scope and threshold requirements. The differences not only occur between standards in a country, but also between national standards within the same scheme. This reflects the local conditions and the values of the stakeholders who have been involved in standard setting processes. For example the lack of substantive industry participation in the FSC Maritime standard, and to some extent the draft FSC Finnish standard, has led to standards that have a greater focus on environmental and social issues. In contrast the absence of NGO support in developing FFCS in Finland has led to lesser focus on environmental and social criteria.

During the field tests the assessors of Det Norske Veritas found difficulty in interpreting the requirements of some of the standards. FFCS and the UKWAS criteria presented no interpretation difficulties. There was some degree of difficulty in a remarkable number of the criteria tested in FSC Maritimes and in a notable number of the criteria in draft FSC Finland.

"Less than 6 % of all forests worldwide are certified, though this rises to 30 % in commercially managed forests. There is evidence from the test that the participation of major stakeholder groups in the national standards process is necessary to enhance the credibility of the certification standards. UPM is willing to promote such initiatives in order to be able to increase the proportion of credibly certified fibre on the market," states Jaakko Sarantola, Senior Vice President, Forestry and Wood Sourcing. "Further UPM is willing to develop research on sustainable forestry practices together with WWF and the leading universities in this field."

"This has been an important study, which for the first time goes beyond a desk exercise of certification systems. The test shows clear differences between the schemes and standards at the forest level and has provided understanding about these differences. The test has also highlighted the benefits of the UKWAS standard in the UK which meets the requirements of both FSC and PEFC," says Duncan Pollard from WWF International.

The test gives valuable feed-back on the level of UPM's forest management

The results of the parallel testing show that UPM's average compliance is 84 % with the five standards which achieved a balanced approach. UPM's strengths lie in legal compliance, protection of water, tree species selection and plantation management as well as the provision for multiple use and public access.

Against the existing certificates hold by UPM, only minor non-conformities were found. The company will take corrective actions to comply with these certificates. UPM's performance against the standards to which it is not certified was variable: against FSC Sweden the performance was good, but noticeably more non-conformities were found against draft FSC Finland and FSC Maritimes.

The parallel testing is a good basis for UPM to develop its performance in each country in order to meet the requirements of the different standards more widely. This means, for example, that UPM will develop its forest management planning and promote biodiversity. Based on the results, UPM will up-date its own forest certification guidelines.

The parallel field test of certification standards was carried out in Canada, Finland and the UK in forests owned or managed by UPM. The areas for the field test were selected by the company. They represent 2 % of the total area of forests managed by UPM

About ten subject areas in the national standards and international PEFC and FSC standards were tested. For the field tests a few core subject areas that UPM and WWF felt would be most significant in their impacts and hence would best illustrate the differences in performance between the standards were chosen. The criteria selected represent an average of one third of the total number of criteria in the six standards tested.

For further information please contact:
Ms Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa, Director, Environmental Forestry Affairs, tel. + 358 204 163 862
Canada: Mr Paul Orser, Director, Forestry and Wood Sourcing, North America,
tel. +1 506 627 3412
UK: Mr Martin Gale, Vice President, International Forestry, tel. +44 207 800 7663
Mr Duncan Pollard, the Head of the European Forest programme, WWF International,
tel. +41 79 477 3336

The report "Parallel testing of forest certification standards" is available through www.upm-kymmene.com > Media Relations > Press kits > Parallel field testing of forest certification standards

Corporate Communications
24 May, 2005

Notes for editors:

UPM owns forestry land in Canada, Finland, the UK and the USA. The largest forest properties are in Finland (930,000 hectares) and the USA (79,000 hectares). UPM is also responsible for the management of 940,000 hectares of provincially owned forest land in New Brunswick, Canada. The forests are certified in Canada and the USA against SFI, in Finland against FFCS and in the UK against UKWAS.

The standards evaluated were:

Canada: FSC Maritimes, SFI ja CSA
Finland: FFCS (PEFC), FSC Sweden and Draft FSC Finland

CSA (Canadian Standards Association) is a non-for-profit membership-based association. Since 1919 it has developed over 2000 standards for various industries. For the past decade CSA has been working in the environmental area and developed the national standard for sustainable forest management in Canada in 1996 (CAN/CSA Z809). CSA was endorsed by PEFC in March 2005. For further information please see www.sfms.com/csa.htm.

FFCS (Finnish Forest Certification System) is the national forest certification standard for Finland endorsed by PEFC. It was established in 1997. For further information please see www.ffcs-finland.org/.

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international non-governmental organisation founded in 1993. Its task is to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. Forest certification according to FSC is based on ten general principles for forest management and a set of certain more detailed criteria. The actual certification standards are drawn up in accordance with the FSC principles in a national co-operation process. For more information please see www.fsc.org.

PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) is an umbrella organisation for the mutual recognition of national and regional forest certification schemes founded in 1999. The schemes are based on internationally recognised requirements and national applications. In Europe the principles have been agreed in the meetings of the forest ministers. For more information please see www.pefc.org.

SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) is a program for sustainable forest management developed by AF&PA (American Forest & Paper Association) in 1994. The SFI program is overseen by SFB (Sustainable Forestry Board) consisting of representatives from environmental/conservation organisations, public officials (state and/or federal agencies), professional/academic groups and industry. For further information please see www.aboutsfi.com.

UKWAS (United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Standard) is the national British forest certification standard endorsed by FSC and PEFC founded in 1999. For further information please see www.forestry.gov.uk/website/oldsite.nsf/byunique/HCOU-4UFP7F.