Regional Group Certification
an effective option
The FFCS System has a regional group certification option, because Finland's forestry mainly relies on private family forestry characterized by small forest holdings. There are approximately 440,000 private forest owners. The area to be certified is either that of a Forestry Centre at a regional level, or that of a Forest Management Association at a local level. A forest owner can always decide whether he/she wishes to participate in regional group certification or not. Participation to forest certification is always voluntary. A forest owner can, if so desired, apply himself for a certificate for his/her forests.
Individual forest owners and other stakeholders committed to forest certification, either directly or indirectly through membership of their organizations form a regional certification group. Regional group certification takes best into consideration the regional diversity of forests, since the ecological diversity of the forests do not respect the boundaries of forest holdings. Additionally the group certification is a cost efficient method to implement forest certification. In the end of the year 2004 there were 13 regional group certifications in Finland which covered 95 per cent of land's forest area.
Participation of forest owners in forest certification is voluntary. Certification is implemented as regional group certification, because it is also the most economic alternative. An area to be certified is either that of a Forestry Centre at the regional level, or that of a Forest Management Association at the local level. A forest owner can, if so desired, apply himself for an individual certificate for his/her own forests.
Participants in regional group certification:
(i) Regional Union of Forest Owners in the certification of an area of a Forestry Centre or
(i) Regional Union of Forest Owners in the certification of an area of a Forestry Centre
(ii) Local Forest Management Association in the certification of an area of a Forest Management Association
- forest owners (private, forest industrycompanies, state and others)
other parties (forest machine entrepreneurs, forestry workers, forest industry companies as timber buyers, Forest Management Associations and the Forestry Centre as advisory and implementing organisations)
Decision-making in Forest Owners' Organization
Forest owners decide on the participation to regional group certification at the council of their Forest Management Association. Repsentatives of Forest Management Association participate at the general assembly of the Union of Forest Owners where the submition of an application for a certificate is decided on. The decision of applying a regional group certificate for the area of the Forestry Centre requires a two third majority decision.
Options for Forest Owners
The members of a Forest Management Association participate in a group certification on the decision of their Association. Other private forest owners may join a regional forest certification by making a written notice to the regional Union of Forest Owners.
...is a member of a Forest Management Association and wants to participate in a group certification.
|When a Forest Management Association has decided to participate in the group certification, forest owner need not to give any notice of participation. The forest owner participating to a forest certification has to comply with the certification requirements.
|...is a member of a Forest Management Association and does not want to participate in a group certification.
|A forest owner informs with a written notice to his/her own Forest Management Association that he/she does not take part in the group certification.
...is not a member of a Forest Management Association, but wants to participate in a group certification.
|A forest owner informs his/her willingnes to participate to the regional Union of Forest Owners / Forest Management Association with a written notice by himself/herself.
|...is not a member of a Forest Management Association and does not want to participate in a group certification.
|Forest owner need not to take any measures because decisions of Forest Management Associations do not apply to non-members. Forest owner's forests do not belong to the certificated area and the wood harvested is not certified.
|... wants his/her forest to be certified separately
|Forest owner contacts one of the certification bodies that have specialised in forest certification.
Contact into for Forest Management Association is available in www.mhy.fi
A person nominated by the Forest Owners’ Union chairs the Committee. Contact into for Unions of Forest Owners in www.liitto.mhy.fi
Requirements for a Forest Owner
Only a part of requirements for sustainable forest management relate directly to individual forest owner's activities in forests. The majority of requirements are for forestry and forest industry enterprises doing the actual operations in the forests. The criteria include requirements to compile statistics and assess the quality of forestry works carried out in the area. The criteria have also requirements on the updating training and consultation for forest owners.
Observance of forestry related legislation gives a firm basis for the implementation of forest certification requirements. Conformity to forest certification requirements leads to a quality of forest management that exceeds the normative requirements.
Administration of group certification
The regional Union of Forest Owners invites the main stakeholders interested in the forestry activities in the area to a certification committee. The regional certification committee decides on the practical tasks associated with certification. The committee directs internal auditing and makes the proposal for the application for a forest certificate.
The committee also coordinates the activities of the participating stakeholders in matters related to forest certification and conformity to the criteria. Data collection for forest certification is closely linked with the operational information systems of forest organisations. Private certification companies provide the certification services.
The Finnish Forest Certification Council controls and develops the FFCS System at the national level and coordinates together with regional certification committees the regional implementation of the System.