Submitted: The Two Sides Team October 9, 2013
FSC will be revising its Annual Administration Fee Policy for all certified companies within the FSC system, effective beginning January 2014. The Annual Administration Fee (AAF) was established to support FSC's core functions, as well as services provided to certificate holders, and has not been adjusted since 2008.
via FSC – October 1, 2013
Dear FSC Certificate Holders,
We are writing to inform you that we will be revising the Annual Administration Fee Policy (FSC-POL-20-005 V2-0) for all certified companies within the FSC system, effective beginning January 2014. The Annual Administration Fee (AAF) was established to support FSC's core functions, as well as services provided to certificate holders, and has not been adjusted since 2008.
As an FSC certified company you are likely to experience an increase in the Annual Administration Fee (AAF), which is paid through your Certification Body as part of your annual FSC certification audit. You can find an overview of the adjusted fees here: ic.fsc.org/aaf_revision.
The majority of FSC certified companies will face a modest increase in the range of $50 to $400. Some companies in higher revenue categories will see larger increases, while others – family and community forest owners – will face little to no increase in fees. In this letter we would like to provide you with the background for the change and also explain what you can expect in return.
Responding to your company's needs
We have heard repeatedly that FSC certified companies and forest operations need relevant and timely support from FSC, and that FSC must improve its marketing and market development efforts around the world to bring the greatest value possible for our certificate holders' investment in certification. However, for FSC to be able to respond to the growing need for outreach, marketing and communications, and improved risk mitigation, we will require an urgent strengthening of our local, regional and international service delivery. In order to do this, the current model for the AAF must be revised.
Strengthening presence and capacity in your region
This initiative was originally called for by FSC members at the 2011 General Assembly. At that Assembly, US-based members of FSC tendered a motion to strengthen FSC's global network of national offices. The motion was overwhelmingly approved by FSC's economic,environmental and social chamber membership. To implement the request, FSC International engaged the management consultancy joint venture of Price Waterhouse Coopers and Sustainability, Inc. This team of industry experts found that, in order to support FSC's continued growth and service delivery to certified companies,greater resources would need to be directed to our network of national and regional offices. As part of the revision process, a fixed percentage of fees collected in a given country will stay within that country to support local, regional and international activities and growth. In other words, there will now be a more direct relationship between your AAF fee and the local support and service delivery from FSC US.
FSC will invest in improving the system and the delivery of benefits and services, including:
- US-specific and global marketing, market development, branding and communications, including collaboration with our commercial partners
- Trademark management and protection
- Maintenance and strengthening of the global system of FSC policies and standards
- Management and enhancement of the FSC multi-stakeholder governance system
- Maintenance and further development of the FSC dispute resolution system, and
- Government and civil society advocacy
In addition, FSC will invest in increased engagement and management of certification risks in key countries, as well as building momentum in undeveloped and underdeveloped markets around the world.
We hope that changes to the AAF policy and the corresponding increase in service levels from the FSC organization will be well received by certificate holders and other valued stakeholders alike. We also realize that the FSC system is undergoing considerable change at the moment. However, these changes are designed to support FSC's development into an even more robust and responsive certification system upon which you can rely. You can rest assured that we will work hard to deliver solutions and value for all, resulting in a stronger and more integrated FSC organization for the benefit of your business and forests around the globe.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your commitment and participation. In 2014, FSC will celebrate 20 years of promoting responsible forest management. We could not have achieved this milestone without your engagement and market leadership. With your support, FSC has pioneered the way and will continue to do so as the world's most preferred forest certification system.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.
President, FSC US