Kuala Lumpur: The field testing of Malaysia’s draft National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS), for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, was recently concluded. This draft standards, which is used for certifying forest concessions and companies, was developed by the Malaysian Standards Development Group (SDG). Testing of the draft is an integral part of the process for developing a robust National Standard.
“This is the reality check on the draft NFSS, enabling each and every criteria, verifier or indicator to be evaluated in real on-the-ground situations,” said Anthony Sebastian, Chairman of the Malaysian SDG. “It is a necessary process for ensuring that an auditable and locally-appropriate Standard is established for Malaysia.”
Two local companies offered their sites for the field tests. The first took place in the Malaysian Bornean state of Sabah from 18-21st September in Acacia Forestry Industries Sdn. Bhd (AFI) plantation forest. AFI’s 25,000 ha of plantations in Pitas was certified by FSC in June, 2011. Ten days later, from 1-3rd October, field testing took place in the second site in Terengganu, within a 10,000 ha natural forest in Kuala Terengganu, operated by Asrama Raya Sdn. Bhd.
Field Testing in Tree Plantations in Sabah
Field Testing in Natural Forest in Terengganu
Field testing involves a practical assessment of the auditability for all Criteria, Indicator and Verifiers proposed in the draft NFSS, including through interviews, site observation and a review of records of documentation of processes. The draft national standards are subsequently modified as necessary, based findings from the field tests.
The Soil Association, a UK-based accredited certification body conducted the field testing. The auditor-team was accompanied by observers from the SDG, the Country Manager for FSC Malaysia and an officer from WWF Malaysia. FSC Malaysia acknowledges the active participation from the senior management teams of AFI and Asrama Raya, and the support they provided at both test sites.
Results from the field tests are currently being compiled and will be discussed at the next meeting of the Malaysian SDG. The next meeting will be held from 30th Oct to 1st Nov 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.