Tuesday, July 25, 2023
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The Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) certification standards require certificate holders to comply with workers’ rights protected by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions. This affects over 50,000 certificate holders worldwide, thereby raising concerns about the risks associated with integrity and credibility. Assurance Services International (ASI), on behalf of FSC, conducted a risk-assessment review on potential risks for the verification and realization of core labour requirements in FSC’s certification system for selected countries.
Labour rights and decent work conditions are key elements of the social dimension of sustainability, which are protected by the ILO Core Conventions. Countries vary in their approach to implementing the ILO Core Conventions, resulting in gaps in legal frameworks and limited enforcement capacity. Factors like political conflicts and restrictions on democratic freedom further hinder the enjoyment of these rights and the ability of workers to exercise collective voices.
This presents challenges for FSC to ensure that certificate holders are able to conform with these requirements and certification bodies’ (CBs) ability to verify them.
To address this issue, ASI reviewed the legal framework around the ILO Core Conventions in 19 high-risk countries (as identified by FSC) in relation to the right to:
Specific aspects considered in the study included practices of risk assessment and mitigation measures associated with the verification of social compliance in weak regulatory environments. Furthermore, ASI also conducted an in-depth review of the legal implementation and verification challenges faced by certification bodies in the following five countries identified by FSC: India, Vietnam, Turkey, Indonesia, and China.
Tags: certificate holder, certification bodies', credibility, freedom of association, FSC, FSC certification system, ILO core convention, initiative, integrity, labour requirement, risk assessment, workers' right