FSC’s rigorous new requirements for auditor training: NEPCon’s training course the first to be approved

13 July 2017
Our new FSC Expert Training Programme has been endorsed as fulfilling FSC’s new, stricter requirements for auditor training. The new Training Programme consists of a five-day FSC Forest Management course and a three-day FSC Chain of Custody course, combined with online modules.

NEPCon’s new FSC Expert Training Programme is based on our experience – over the past ten years – running comprehensive FSC Forest Management, Chain of Custody and Controlled Wood Expert courses. These courses were developed jointly by NEPCon and the Rainforest Alliance and have been very popular among companies, stakeholders, NGOs, scheme owners, and research institutions, etc. 

Following the approval of Motion 52 at the 2014 FSC General Assembly, FSC has strengthened its requirements for competencies, training and registration of FSC auditors. Our revision, with support from the Rainforest Alliance, includes some significant changes reflecting new FSC standards and requirements, new content and delivery formats, as well as the extended duration of the course. Our FSC Expert Training Programme now complies with the new accreditation standard (FSC-STD-20-001 V4-0) and a new procedure (FSC-PRO-20-004 V1-2) regarding specific requirements for management and administration of FSC training programmes. 


Key changes

The FSC Forest Management Expert course is now a separate five-day training. We have added new topics to the course, including Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), social issues, gender equality, certification of forest ecosystems, and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP). Some of the existing topics, for example High Conservation Values (HCV), Small or Low Intensity Managed Forest (SLIMF), group certification, and new FSC Principles and Criteria, have been enriched with more content and examples through real case studies. In addition, we have designed more exercises and group work throughout the course to help trainees reflect and reinforce their newly acquired knowledge and competencies, such as audit interviewing skills.

The FSC Chain of Custody Expert course now includes new topics such as sourcing of reclaimed material, and project certification. This three-day course also has more detail in existing sections – and more group exercises to tackle more complex issues such as FSC product group definitions, and credit and percentage system application. All content has been updated to new standards FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0 and FSC-STD-40-005 V3-1.

In addition, we have updated our training material focusing on the FSC system. This section of the courses now covers topics such as dispute resolution system requirements, impartiality and conflict of interest, legality legislation, and the relationship of FSC with other forest certification schemes.

NEPCon’s training courses continue to embrace ISO 19011 auditing practices. Our trainees who wish to become FSC auditors therefore do not need to take an extra ISO 19011 course elsewhere.


FSC Controlled Wood Expert course

NEPCon has also developed a three-day FSC Controlled Wood Expert course, which provides comprehensive training in the due diligence requirements of the latest FSC Controlled Wood Standard, version 3-1. As FSC has not yet developed detailed requirements for FSC Controlled Wood auditors, this course has not at this stage been endorsed by FSC. 


Free online training

Both FSC Forest Management and Chain of Custody courses include an online component, consisting of recorded webinars, readings and quizzes that trainees can ‘self study’ before and during the main classroom courses.

Following our Open Source policy, we have made all our online training content available for free. All you need to do is to register on our online platform and you will have access to all of these materials.


Join our upcoming courses

We are running new courses from this September. Please click here to see the courses that have been planned so far. 

At the moment, our courses are delivered in English and Russian languages. We are planning soon to add courses in Spanish language.