An FSC-UK certification first
How a small forestry/sawmill benefited from Soil Association Forestry’s pragmatic approach
Adapted from an article written by Owen Davies (© FSC-UK)
First published by FSC-UK, September 2016 (www.fsc-uk.org/en-uk/newsroom/id/363)
Glasfryn Fencing and Sawmill in North Wales have become the first UK forest management certificate holder to produce FSC certified processed products from a fixed processing facility within the certified area without a separate chain of custody certificate.
Although all of the forest management certificates in the UK have a chain of custody element (hence their FM/COC codes), their scope is usually limited to products which have undergone little or no processing, such as roundwood. Through their certification body, the Soil Association, Glasfryn have taken advantage of a standard interpretation from FSC International which allows processing facilities to be included in the scope of an FM/COC certificate provided certain conditions are met. These conditions include:
- The processing facilities must be owned or managed by the organisation holding the FM/COC certificate.
- All the timber must come from the certified forest management unit, i.e. no timber may be bought in from elsewhere.
- The processing facilities must be audited against the applicable chain of custody standards.
‘We’re well aware that many small woodland owners who produce processed goods have been frustrated about the need for a separate chain of custody certificate, which has often made producing certified goods prohibitively expensive,’ says FSC UK’s Owen Davies. ‘We’re delighted that Glasfryn are now able to use their own timber to produce FSC certified processed goods within the scope of a single FM/COC certificate, and we hope that other small producer processors will be inspired to follow their lead.’
Glasfryn are a vital element in the rural economy of the Lleyn peninsula. They utilise their own forests to supply fencing and other products, reducing transport costs and keeping money in the local economy.
The forest and sawmill operate in unison, with material harvested to meet demand with exemplary efficiency and every scrap of material utilised in the most valuable way possible.
Soil Association have auditors dual qualified in Forest Management and Chain of Custody auditing, who are able to complete both elements in a single visit. This saves time and money for all parties.
Arwel Roberts, Managing Director of Glasfryn said, ‘An integral part of our management of this historic resource is an organised felling and restocking programme, which allows more trees to be planted than are harvested. Harvesting is achieved with the very latest machinery whilst restocking includes planned planting programmes as well as natural reseeding. Over the years our management of these plantations has gained almost 50 national awards.
‘It is only natural that the forest and its products should carry the FSC logo and the helpful work of Soil Association and FSC UK has allowed us to simplify everything. We are all for a common sense approach which reduces unnecessary workload. It is this kind of can-do attitude which shows certification in a better light and will provide an incentive for others to certify.’
If you’re a woodland owner creating processed goods from your own timber and think you may benefit from this approach, ask your certification body for more details.