Working Group on Forest Certification

Operational Structures

Regular Meetings

9.1 Regular meetings of the Working Group shall be held every month.

9.2 Any stakeholder may request to attend any regular meeting of the Working Group and participate in the discussions. The Chairperson of the meeting shall however ensure that non-members do not take advantage of their attendance unduly to block the process of decision taking on an issue at stake.

9.3 The Working Group may decide on other meetings as and when required

Decision Making

10.1 Decisions shall as far as possible be taken through discussion and consensus. Where at any meeting a member or other participant raises serious objection to what appears to be the consensus or majority view, due consideration shall be given to the objection and further discussion held in an endeavour to reach a consensus, before putting the matter to vote
10.2 Where a vote is required to be taken, each chamber shall hold a third of the voting power and a two-thirds majority of the votes cast shall be required for a decision.

Grievance Procedures

11.1 WG shall make every effort to ensure that disputes, grievances and complaints arising from or in the course of the execution of its functions, including those related to standards development and facilitation of the work of certification bodies, are properly considered and resolved

11.2 Whenever possible informal procedures shall be followed in resolving disputes and grievances. The aim shall be to ensure, where possible and appropriate, that the aggrieved party receives a satisfactory explanation and comes to an understanding on the issues involved that makes it unnecessary to continue pursuing the matter. Grievance procedures shall ensure also that, as far as is reasonable, parties to a dispute are satisfied with having been given a fair and transparent hearing and an unbiased decision.
11.3 The Working Group shall establish a Dispute Resolution Committee.

Terms and Conditions for WG Members

12.1 Working Group Members and Members of Committees/Sub-committees set up by the Working Group generally work on a voluntary basis.

12.2 Notwithstanding sub-section 12.1 above:
a) Traveling and other expenses shall be met as decided by resolution of WG.
b) Members may undertake paid consultancy work on specific projects for the Working Group or others.

Use of Consultants

13.1 Where appropriate, WG     may commission consultants to undertake specific work on its behalf.

13.2 WG may consider the use of consultants in some or all of the following circumstances:
a) to bring additional expertise into the work of the Working Group;
b) to add credibility to the work of WG;
c) Where WG members are unable to give concentrated time to get the work done:
d) for other reasons specified in the decision to engage a consultant.

13.3 Consultants shall work to mutually agreed, written terms of reference.


14.1 The Working Group may employ paid staff

14.2 Each member of staff shall sign an appropriate contract setting out the terms and conditions of his or her employment.

Consultation Procedures

15.1 WG shall regularly review and update its database on stakeholders

15.2 A separate database shall be kept of stakeholders who express an interest in the work and objectives of the Working Group each of whom shall be assigned to one of three chambers, namely the economic, the environmental and the social chambers. These shall constitute the voting constituencies for purposes of electing members of the Working Group.

15.3 WG shall appraise the most appropriate area of involvement and method of consultation of the various stakeholder groups. The widest consultation shall be in connection with the development and review of the National Forest Stewardship Standards. Generally effort shall be made also to circulate most types of information to the organised stakeholder groups (such as trade associations, labour unions, association of community forest committees, National House of Chiefs) and to invite them to comment on most draft documents and to attend most consultative meetings.
15.4 WG members who represent the various chambers shall interact regularly with their constituencies and shall report at least once a year, on their interactions with their respective constituencies to the Working Group.


16.1 The Working Group shall carry out such activities, including fund raising, as will enable it obtain the funds it requires to finance its operations and to ensure its financial independence on FSC AC.

16.2 Priority shall be given to the preparation of a short-term to medium–term fund-raising strategy that will guarantee the Working Group some reliable funds for a period of three to five years ahead. The strategy shall relate to the Working Group’s Work Plans, forecasts of Incomes and Expenditures, Identification of Funding sources and other requirements and strategies for funding proposal writing.

1.6.3 WG shall meet all requirements under the Companies Code, 1963, for the preparation, discussion and approval of annual audited accounts.

Work Plans

17.1 WG shall prepare roll-on Indicative/Outline Medium-term (5 years) Work Plans and a detailed Annual Work Plan

17.2 The WG  Chairman/Co-ordinator (and staff, where any) shall ensure that the Work Plans for the ensuing year are discussed and agreed in time by the members o the Working Group and shall provide needed inputs to facilitate the preparation of the plans.

17.3 A participatory approach shall be adopted to ensure that FSC members and member organizations who are not members of the Working Group contribute to the preparation of, and support the Work Plans.