Jan/Feb 2021: ESRA – the time has come…

By Jacqui Meyer, TIPWG Secretariat
The year is 2021 and the time of the ESRA is upon us… this sounds like the introduction to a bad sci-fi movie and I am guessing many in Industry wish this was all it was! However, this is a reality, meaning FSC audits this year will require the implementation of the FSC Pesticide Policy and its dreaded ESRA’s.

We hope that by now, our FSA members are well versed with the term ESRA and the revised FSC Pesticide Policy. After all, it has been a hot topic in the Industry, even through COVID-19.

As with all things new, the steepest part of the learning curve is always the beginning. In late-2019, TIPWG was appointed to develop the ESRA’s for the Industr by FSA’s Environmental Management Committee (EMC). This, for the most part, is complete. However, during a further review of the colossal 159-page TIPWG ESRA document, gaps were found that are in the process of being plugged. These will be addressed in the next few months and updates will be posted, so please keep an eye on your inbox for these.

We are hoping that with each consecutive certificate holder’s (CH’s) audit, we will gain inputs and insights from CH’s and certification bodies (CB’s) on what is required and how we can fine-tune the ESRA’s to ensure they work for us rather than make more work for us. In light of this, we need to keep an open mind through this next year and this next year’s audits to be proactive about the Policy and the implementation thereof.

We urge all FSA members to please keep us updated on any audit findings concerning the revised FSC Pesticide Policy and the ESRA’s. Your confidentiality will be maintained, but with each new piece of information, we can move forward together as an Industry.

So, as we stand together, on the eve of the first ESRA based audits, my advice is to truly understand the revised Pesticide Policy and ESRA’s going into an audit, so that you can have constructive debates with your auditors.

Together, we learn and grow.

/ Getting to know TIPWG