Dispute Process


The Center for Forest and Wood Certification is committed to the adherence to the approved Chain-of-Custody certification standards. These are currently the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. If stakeholders or Group Members feel the standards are being implemented incorrectly they have the right to appeal to Center using the following processes.

Disputes against Group Members

It is important that all approved certification system standards be followed by approved Group Members. The public has the right to appeal to the Center if the standards are not being followed by Group Members by utilizing the detailed process below. The Center has the right to investigate or refuse to investigate any complaint.

Process

  1. Contact the Forest Industry Section Administrator in writing (by letter or email) with the specific standard that is not being followed. Anonymous complaints or disputes are not accepted by the Center and will not be investigated. All evidence to support your claim must be submitted to the Center for investigation.
  2. The Section Administrator will respond to the complaint within 30 days and will inform the complainant whether an investigation is warranted.  If an investigation is warranted a suggested time frame for the investigation will be detailed.
  3. The results of that investigation will then be presented to the complainant and the accused Group Member. If either party finds the results unacceptable, they may appeal to the Center's Dispute Committee by contacting the Director of Operations. Any appeal to the Dispute Committee must be in writing and must include a full explanation of the reasons for the appeal and all relevant documentation.
  4. The Committee will consider the appeal and inform the complainant of its decision, generally within three months.  The Committee's decision can be appealed directly to the Center's Certifying Body, Scientific Certification Systems.

Disputes against Group Management

Disputes may arise over a number of issues including: interpretations of the standards, what Group Members are expected to do to meet the standards, improvements that may need to be taken, and and possible Group Member expulsion. Group Members may appeal any decision by the Center's Forest Industry Section personnel to the Section Administrator in writing including any assessments, corrective action requests, or any other decisions relating to maintaining certification. The Section Administrator will not investigate complaints regarding him or herself.

Process

  1. Group Members must contact the Forest Industry Section Administrator in writing (by letter or email) with the specific standard that is not being followed. Anonymous complaints or disputes are not accepted by the Center and will not be investigated. All evidence to support your claim must be submitted to the Center for investigation.
  2. The Section Administrator will contact the Group Member to discuss some form of resolution within 30 days. If a resolution is agreed upon a written summation of the decision will be mailed to the Group Member for their final approval of the resolution.
  3. If a resolution cannot be reached, the Group Member then has the right to appeal to the Dispute Committee by contacting the Director of Operations.  Any appeal must be in writing and include a full explanation of the reasons for the appeal and all relevant documentation.
  4. The Dispute Committee will consider the appeal and inform the Group Member of its decision in writing, within three months. The Committee's decision can be appealed directly to the Center's Certifying Body, Scientific Certification Systems.
Dispute Committee

The Center has established an ad hoc committee that will handle all grievances and complaints regarding decisions of Center personnel.  The committee is composed of two managing partners and a Group Member.  The Forest Industry Section Administrator will present their case to the Committee but will not be allowed to vote.  The Committee's decision is final but may be appealed to the Center's Certifying Body.  The Committee will meet at least quarterly to consider complaints and disputes.

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