The possibilities of forest certification under martial law in Ukraine are determined by the relevant FSC normative framework both at the level of certificate holders and certification bodies. While requiring the suspension of certificates in Ukraine in the territories belonging to the armed conflict zone, in other territories FSC defines the tools that enable certification maintaining, protect and ensure its system integrity. One of such tools is FSC Policy on the excision of areas from the scope of certification FSC-POL-20-003 V 1-0. The application of this Policy in Ukraine is an issue for consideration by the Working Group. After all, there are situations when enterprises in certain forest areas cannot meet the requirements of FSC certification for reasons beyond their control as responsible for the management, although the rest of the territory in general is in compliance with The FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard of Ukraine. A few forestry enterprises in Ukraine that have been affected by the hostilities are facing a similar situation.
The practice of applying FSC-POL-20-003 V 1-0 in Ukraine necessitates the development of national indicators and thresholds for the excision of territories from the scope of certification in accordance with FSC-POL-20-003, which was one of the decisions of the Working Group.
Compliance with the requirements of FSC National Standard for Ukraine is also on the agenda of the meeting, in particular, in terms of sustainable forest management with the involvement of unused logging limits for previous years and increasing volumes of other logging types.
The requirements of Indicator 5.2.3 of the FSC National Standard for Ukraine clearly indicate that the actual annual harvesting levels for the current revision period of forest inventory and management planning shall not exceed the maximum annual allowable cut of timber harvesting (total average change in growing stock). Exceptions are possible only in cases of large-scale natural disturbance. That is why the working group appeals to the holders of FSC certificates to strictly comply with the standard requirements in terms of ensuring sustainable harvesting levels in the situation of involving the unused limit for final felling for previous years and increasing the harvesting volume at the expense of other logging types. Certification bodies shall focus on this in the framework of certification evaluation.
Pavlo Kravets, Director of FSC Ukraine, said in this context: "At the meeting, the Working Group made an important decision that opens up opportunities for the development of national indicators to excise areas that cannot be certified due to their contamination with explosives. These are new realities of the time and challenges to which we must jointly respond. The expressed position of the Working Group in ensuring the principle of sustainability is the best evidence of the commitment and upholding of FSC values in this emergency".