FSC Pesticides Policy

FSC has a Pesticides Policy which was recently revised and (the revised version) has been approved in March 2019 (effective as of August 2019). The revision was lead by a working group with group members with different backgrounds, representing the different interests in responsible forest management (economic, social, environmental) as well as representing North and South. For a composition of the working group, see our website.

The short-term objectives of the FSC Pesticides Policy are to:
• Promote best practices to minimize associated risks to human health and the environment when using chemical pesticides;
• Reduce the overall volume and number of chemical pesticides in use; and
• Eliminate the use of the most hazardous chemical pesticides.

The long-term aim of this Policy is to eliminate the use of chemical pesticides in the management unit.

With the revised policy, the current derogation system will be phased out and replaced by environmental and social risk assessments (ESRA) for those chemical pesticides that are not prohibited.

The Policy has three lists of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHP’s):
- FSC prohibited HHPs: prohibited in any case: a list of 48 pesticides (active ingredients)
- FSC highly restricted HHPs: a list of 120 pesticides (active ingredients)
- FSC restricted HHPs: a list of 221 pesticides (active ingredients)

Important considerations of the Policy are:
- FSC- requires the use of integrated pest management and silviculture systems which avoid, or aim to eliminate, the use of chemical pesticides.
- FSC recognizes that in certain circumstances, and after having considered other available pest management strategies and practices, the use of chemical pesticides may be the only feasible way of controlling a pest, weed or disease problem.
- The fact that a chemical pesticide is not included in the FSC lists of HHPs, does not mean that it is safe. Before using a chemical pesticide not listed in the FSC lists of HHPs, the Organization shall undertake environmental and social risk assessment (ESRA).

In the national FSC-standard for the Netherlands pest management and the application of pesticides is dealt with under Criterion 10.7. The national standard can be found on our website.

Up until now glyphosate was not in the list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides. IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer, one of the sources FSC refers to to identify pesticides that are carcinogenic or likely to be carcinogenic) changed the classification of glyphosate, declaring glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” only some days after the 2015 FSC HHP list was updated. At that time, the Board of FSC International decided to revise the pesticides policy and agreed on not updating the HHP list until a new policy was approved. Therefore, glyphosate has not been listed as highly hazardous pesticide by FSC until now and therefore did not require a derogation.

The Glyphosate is now listed as HHP under the category of restricted HHP.

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