Members Comment FSC - the Challenges and Benefits A Safcol Experience
I n response to a demand from its customers and in line with its goal of becoming a world class company, SAFCOL has had all its plantations.and sawmills certified in terms of the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme. Main assessments undertaken by a team of three to five experts (both local and foreign) covered a 25% sample of each region (five in total). Four regions were certified after the main assessments and one region had to be reassessed a year later. The main problem areas in most regions included harvesting practices, roads, riparian zones and socioeconomic issues. In almost all the regions, Corrective Action Requests (CARs) were raised in terms of these issues and these are now being addressed through annual surveillance visits. FSC certification has opened new marketing opportunities for the company and it has brought about a change in mindsets in a very short period. It has confirmed environmental management as part of core business and operational activities and it has provided benefits (both financial and environmental) that far outweigh the costs incurred.
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