In May 2019, FSC International approved the revised FSC Pesticides Policy which comes into effect August 1, 2019.

The policy aims to eliminate the use of the most hazardous chemical pesticides; promote best practices to minimize associated risks to human health and the environment when using chemical pesticides, and reduce the overall volume and number of chemical pesticides in use.

The newly revised policy includes two key changes:

Assessing the risk of pesticide use: The revised policy introduces a risk-based approach to identify whether a pesticide is toxic to the environment and humans in the local environment through Environmental and Social Risk Assessments.

Derogations (exemptions): There is no derogation process for the use of FSC prohibited highly hazardous pesticides. They cannot be used in FSC certified Management Units except in an emergency situation or by government order.

Highly restricted pesticides and restricted pesticides can only be used when, following an Environmental and Social Risk Assessment (ESRA), where the organization has identified and assessed the associated risks and is demonstrating the risk will be controlled and minimized.

The policy becomes effective on August 1, 2019. Certificate holders will have until August 1, 2020, to transition to the interim implementation.