FSC plans to introduce Online Claim Platform

22 November 2012


The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is working in partnership with Historic Futures (HF) to develop a new software system – the FSC Online Claims Platform (OCP). The FSC have decided that, with 23,000 Certificate Holders, a more secure system of data management is required to ensure the veracity of the FSC claims being made.A link to the FSC Online Claims Platform Forum can be found here: http://claims-forum.fsc.org/.

Woodmark would like to ask our Associates and Certificate Holders to carefully consider the OCP proposal – as its use is likely to become a requirement within FSC standards in the future. It is then important that all questions about the development of the OCP or concerns about business impacts are included on the Forum discussion page (See Tab: Forum Let’s discuss it, http://claims-forum.fsc.org/15-2), or sent directly to Phil Guillery (p.guillery@fsc.org) at FSC International.

Please do not contact Woodmark as FSC want to hear directly from you.

In summary, the proposal is that when purchasing FSC material, a company will have to input the information from their Supplier’s Invoice, onto the OCP platform, in order for the delivery to be verified (input may be made manually, by use of exported spread-sheet or automated upload). Data required is likely to include: Invoice date, Invoice number, Certificate ID, Product Type, Species, Country of Origin, Claim Type, Quantity/Units. Further details on the functioning of the OCP can be found in the endnote below.[i]

Currently the timeframe for the OCP is as follows:

 Development and Test
November 2012 to March 2013
 Trial Implementation
February 2013 to August 2013
Roll Out
August 2013 – August 2014

FSC and HF have been given feedback by Woodmark and others, such as the UK Timber Trade Federation.We have pointed out some of the technical challenges and potential costs, as well as the need to develop and demonstrate business benefits to certificate holders for the system to work effectively and benefit all in the FSC system. FSC and HF have indicated that they are seeking more feedback and engagement in the development process.

At this point, we would ask Certificate Holders to only contact Woodmark directly if you would like to volunteer your organisation as part of the Pilot testing process. It is just as important that companies that volunteer include those who believe they would have problems with implementation, as well as those who support the idea, so that FSC has the opportunity to adjust their requirements if decided necessary. Please contact Dr Penny Bienz (pbienz@soilassociation.org) or write directly to the Woodmark Office, if you wish to volunteer.

Woodmark will be sending out a short questionnaire in December to assess the reaction of Associates and Certificate Holders to the OCP development and the benefits that it proposes to deliver.

Woodmark will be looking to organise a meeting in the UK in February 2013 with Historic Futures and FSC (International/UK Office), so that interested Associates and Certificate Holders have the opportunity to learn more about the Online Claims Platform; how to incorporate it into their business and what direct benefits it will provide.

Woodmark will also assist with scheduling meetings outside of the UK between our Associates, Historic Futures and FSC (International/Regional Office), so that Associate clients are able to directly comment on the process.

[i] An introductory presentation of the functioning of the OCP can be seen here: http://claims-forum.fsc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Introduction-to-the-FSC-OCP-PowerPoint-Presentation-Nov-1-Final1.pdf

The FSC have identified two types of Origination Errors; which are giving rise to false claims within the system. In summary (from the above presentation link):

SLIDE 5 Origination Error 1

Invoice Change: Certificate Holder 1 (Supplier) sells non-FSC material and makes a false claim on the sales documentation (Invoice). Supplier then files a blank (no claim) invoice. This ‘over-selling’ will not be picked up at the audit of Certificate Holder 1 (Supplier).

SLIDE 6 Origination Error 2

Invalid Certificate: Certificate Holder 1 (Supplier) continues to sell FSC material even if they have been suspended because the customer has to manually check the supplier’s certificate on the database. This is usually only done annually.

SLIDE 7 One Claim: One Record

The suggested solution is;

Certificate Holder 2 (Customer) records on the OCP all supplies received, per Supplier; with details from the Supplier Invoice. (It is undecided if Product Groups will be used at this time). As Suppliers are listed on the OCP, there will be automatic notification from the FSC database to the Customer if the Supplier is suspended.

Prior to a surveillance audit; a Certification Body will be able to request a summary of reports. If the audit is of Certificate Holder 1 (Supplier), the CB will be able to see all recorded purchases, with claims, input by customers (Certificate Holder 2). The CB will then be able to identify if the customers are recording higher volumes than the supplier admits to selling.



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