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ASI provides evaluation of state forestry enterprises in Ukraine

The International Accreditation Service (Accreditation Services International) ASI has conducted a review of audit companies that provide certificates FSC. The following is their conclusion.

Investigation of the Earthsight «Involved in corruption» in detail explores corruption and illegal harvesting of wood in the Ukrainian forest industry, including government officials who were accused of corruption, as well as those involved in this company. Most of the companies referred to in the report are FSC-certified. In addition, the report is identified by the involvement of FSC, since the standards are too easy to misinterpret, and the authorities of conformity assessment (ОS) cannot detect fraud and unlawful practices during the audits.

There are serious charges against the government, private companies and systems of FSC, and they are not unfounded. ASI deals with problems related to FSC certification in the forest industry of Ukraine since 2014 year. Previous cases related to the following issues:

Illegally extracting amber,

Management control of the State administration of forests,

Legality of permits for holding sanitary and

Lack of adequate identification and/or management are special for the preservation of values in the state forestry in harvesting,

Sale of raw wood disguised as wood fuel to the European Union market,

Fraudulent practices in charcoal production with concealment/mixing of sales in fictitious companies and avoiding their detection by changing companies and abandoning certification.

Corruption is difficult to identify and solve the problem for voluntary standards systems, and this situation is not unique for Ukraine or for FSC. Where this phenomenon is present, it can be prevalent, and the voluntary standards system is generally not developed directly for the purpose of resolving this problem. Since the control of the OAF, our first task is to ensure compliance with the audit competence and activity of accreditation standards. One of the tools we apply is conformity assessment. At the time of the ASI compliance assessment, it checks the adequacy of previous audit methods, findings and conclusions, as well as a summary decision on certification through direct audit of the certificate's compliance with certification requirements.

To understand how the оs work in Ukraine, ASI has developed a detailed assessment of compliance with the key issues for Ukraine, which are related to each of the three оs that provide certification of FM/COC: SGS, Nepcon and FC. ASI has focused on the state forestry enterprises, which were previously notified of incidents and which were located in the regions of Ukraine identified in the Earthsight report as having more corruption problems.

The second goal was to consider two key issues at the level of certificate holders (US): a) The validity of permits for sanitary and potential abuses with the purpose of excessive procurement; and b) Economic activity of the US and any "red flags" on issues related to business documentation, FSC transactions and products. Assessment was made for the following us:

FC-FM/COC-804483 Rohatyn Forestry

SGS-FM/COC-002711 Lviv Regional Department of Forestry and Hunting economy

NC-FM/COC-013427 State Enterprise «Breastfeeding Forestry»

ASI has been contracted by two experienced consultants to support the assessment: a sawmill with 40 years of experience in Ukraine and a specialist on corruption in supply chains with experience of audit of State forestry enterprises . The assessment was scheduled for early October to be able to assess the exercise of sanitary jams. During all the estimations the attention of the current harvesting was paid. ASI has sent experienced appraisers with considerable experience in the field of forestry in Ukraine. In addition, the representative of FSC Ukraine joined the assessment of the Observer. The team also included an interpreter with experience in the fields of forestry and audit.

Evaluation lasted from 2 to 4 days, with one team engaged in research of sanitary and other-economic activity of DLH. Exhaustive field observations on 83 plots in three forestry enterprises confirmed that in the examined forests there is a large-scale fade, especially in Spruce Wood (Picea abies). The drying of fir-trees was caused by a combination of the influence of insects and other factors, a large number of plots contained the dried trees, which were already populated by secondary pests, with a significant amount of wind shaft. ASI was not found evidence to confirm the theory of the use of sanitary equipment for illicit removal of healthy trees, however, the sample was small, and it can not be extrapolate to a larger territory. In addition, ASI experts note that the affected trees on the roots in the early stages may look healthy. This could potentially lead to the fact that the observer is questioned by the rationale for a sanitary ruse.

Overview of reports on wood harvesting, forestry data, documents on storage of forest products, sales, pricing, contracts and others did not reveal any deficiencies in the economic activities of State forestry enterprises (DLH), which The objects of rating were performed. In this way, ASI in all three cases may conclude that the previous methods of verification of the OAF, findings and conclusions, as well as relevant decisions on certification meet the assessed requirements for accreditation and certification.
ASI observations confirm the FSC Ukraine statement that factors such as climate change can cause serious sawmill problems in Ukraine, this phenomenon is documented in other areas around the world. However, ASI picks has been limited and we cannot extrapolate the information you have received on the entire country. Because of this, it is impossible to make assumptions that the sawmill problems are similar to other DLH or exclude the possibility of misuse of sanitary cuts in other dlh. Thus, the allegations made earthsight on the scale of illegal operations in Ukraine were not verified by ASI's own observations.

In general, there is an understanding that sanitary cuts can be used in some cases as a pretext for cutting down healthy trees, and it happens in many regions of the world, where the sanitary condition of forests is under pressure of climate change. In this way, ASI recommends that FSC, ASI and all Оs, which carry out certification of forestry enterprises in Ukraine, have worked together to adapt the practice of audit and additional levels of inspection in the consideration of the sanitary traffic, in order to Reduction of the risk of illegal billet in FSC-certified enterprises.

With original text news can be found on the link.

According to FSC in Ukraine