Digitalization of our audit reports

We are introducing digital audit reporting to the FSC system in 2020/2021. This will enable us to appropriately access audit data and easily identify trends, impacts and risk areas to evaluate and improve the FSC system. 

FSC Digital Audits / PeopleImages

One standard format

We have a wealth of data on forest management certification available in FSC through public summary reports, available online for everyone on

These reports are intended to support researchers, forest standard development groups and FSC itself, not only in assessing the impact of our system on forest management but also to improve it continuously.

The data from our public summary reports is, however, not systematised. It is available in a multitude of different formats, depending on which certification body collects it. Exploring each single summary report makes it very difficult and time consuming to gather and aggregate data and to enable analysis.

FSC Digital audit reporting solve this problem.

We will begin the transition with forest management audit reports and focus on the public summary reports specifically. This will enable us to appropriately access aggregated audit data and easily identify trends, impacts and risk areas to evaluate and improve the FSC system.

The standardized format for digital audit reporting will be implemented across all FSC Forest Management certificates starting January 1st 2021 with full implementation completed in January 2022.

The project will address implementation of Motion 16 from 2017.

FSC Digital Audits Highlights
FSC GD / Christian Irrgang


Currently, only digital reporting on forest management certification is available, and auditors across the world will be trained in their use. Digital reporting for chain of custody certification is planned at a later date.

Standardized FSC digital audit reporting will enable us to access properly audit data, aggregate them and to identify trends, outcomes and risk areas in order to evaluate and improve the FSC system. 

It will also ensure that public summaries from certification processes are automatically created and translated in a standardized format, making it much easier for researchers and stakeholders to use and analyze the data they contain on an aggregated level.

From October 2020 all certification bodies worldwide must start familiarizing themselves with the new system for forest management audit reports. The use of the digital audit reporting system will become mandatory for all Forest Management Audits conducted from January 2021 onwards.

For FSC, it is key that the system is as easy as possible for certification bodies to use and integrate in their everyday work. As a result, the proposed format for the report is a simple Microsoft Word template with relevant add-ons, that can ensure that information is automatically synchronized with the central FSC database. All information from audit reports inserted into predefined data fields will be captured. However, only a portion of the audit report – that is the public summary – will be open and accessible from the FSC International website.

The system has been developed in multiple languages and tested by certification bodies before release for implementation. 

For more detailed information on the project and selected solution, please see the FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Digital Chain of Custody reporting will be next step

We will start the digitalization project with forest management audit reports but plan to digitalize chain of custody (CoC) audit reports as a next step. This project will only commence once digital forest management audit reports project  has been successfully piloted and implemented. 

forests for the future


Forest for the future podcast series. Episode 3

21-05-2020. In this episode we will be looking into how FSC is working to standardize the way information is captured from audit reports. This aim is to make the data more useful to both ourselves and all of our stakeholders. We will be asking Joanna Nowakowska and Sean Cheng, who are working on the project. 

Listen now

Training on the use of the FSC digital audit reporting

In the video training below we introduce the FSC digital audit reporting system and how to use it. The training is meant for auditors conducting FSC Forest Management Audits. If you are looking for a more overall introduction to the FSC Digital Audit Reporting project, we encourage you to watch the recording of our introduction webinar instead also found below.

The training is divided into different chapters, enabling viewers to easily find the part of the video relevant to them.



The Digitalization of FSC FM Audit Reports (13 November 2019)

FM Digital Audit Reporting Training (28. September 2020)

FM Digital Audit Reporting. A new solution goes live (08. October 2020)


The ressources listed on this page are aimed at certification bodies conducting FSC Forest Management audits. They include all files and templates needed for performing FSC audits utilizing the new FSC Digital audit reporting system. The files must be downloaded prior to use and will interact with the database enabling the FSC Digital Audit report system.


  1. Word templates containing all required data fields for a forest management audit. The template can be pre-filled with core certificate information and if relevant observations and corrective action requests from previous audits (from 2021 onwards). This information can be automatically retrieved from the FSC database.  
  2. An installation file enabling communication with the word template and the FSC database. The add-in will enable data fetching, validation upload of key data to the FSC database and submit errata.  
  3. Group Members List to provide information about members for FSC Forest Management groups, if relevant and upload these directly into the FSC database. This file is a supporting document and can be omitted if irrelevant. 
  4. Global Pesticides List to enable easier search of pesticides used in the forest, if relevant. This file is a supporting document and can be omitted if irrelevant.

To learn more about how to use these different ressources, please watch the training above.

Forest Management (FM) audit report digital templates in different languages:

FM online audit report template DE.docx

FM online audit report template EN.docx

FM online audit report template ES.docx

FM online audit report template FR.docx

FM online audit report template JA.docx

FM online audit report template PT.docx

FM online audit report template RU.docx

FM online audit report template UK.docx

FM online audit report template ZH.docx


FM online Word Add-in installation file:



Group member list template

Group member list template.xlsx


Global pesticide list


Certification Body FAQs

Timelines for implementation

  1. When will the use of the template be mandatory?

    The use of the template is mandatory from 1 January 2021 from which date the existing templates from certification bodies can no longer be used. 

    We realize that this is a change to the workflows of hundreds of auditors around the globe, which is why we have made the templates available for training for the remainder of 2020. 

    The remaining modules of the digital audit report are only mandatory from 1 January 2022 to provide certification bodies time to adjust to using the new templates and prepare for the implementation of other modules. If possible, we encourage to begin implementation of other modules sooner. 

    Certification bodies can use the FM online report template in any of the languages made available based on preferences. 

  2. Is the requirement to use FM template from 1 January 2020 applicable to audits that start in 2020 and finish in 2021, or only to audits that start from 1 January 2021?

    The use of FM template is mandatory for audits that start from 1 January 2021. Audits that start in 2020 can use existing formats. 

  3. Are any modifications to the template planned before 1 January 2021?

    User experience is important for us. Therefore, we welcome feedback on the template as auditors around the globe start using it and we will consider it in future iterations of the digital reports. We will naturally also address identifiable errors or bugs. 

    This template will also be updated in case of implementation of changes in applicable Normative Requirements. By the end of 2020 FSC will update the template to align with the pesticide’s classification as per FSC-POL-30-001a.

  4. Are there plans and/or a timeline for COC online report templates?

    Chain of custody digital audit reports and controlled wood digital audit reports are planned and will be initiated in 2021. 

    We will utilize the learnings from the implementation of FM Online and the developed templates when commencing the development of these additional templates. 

Technical requirements, languages, and account management

  1. How many accounts to access the FSC certification portal and data upload function will each certification body get, and who will these be distributed to?

    In 2021, for voluntary implementation of all modules, every certification body will have one credential for its FM primary contact made available per main office. This is a limitation put into place to ensure the needed infrastructure capacity for each certification body.

    To request credentials, certification bodies must reach out via

    If a certification bodies is in need of more credentials, a request can be made to and it will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

    As FSC during 2021 progresses with the development of the certification portal and its other features, automation of account creation as well as account allocation will be established prior to the deadline for mandatory implementation of all modules. 

  2. What is the workflow from start of an audit to final report?

    The workflow for creating a forest management report in the new digital system will be as follows once fully implemented: 

    A staff member with log-in credentials creates the audit and using the template with an Add in installed fetches data from the database into the template. 


    The prepared template report can then be forwarded to auditor(s), who can edit and add/change data until the end of the audit. The template has embedded dictionaries for species lists and pesticides list, which will help validating these entries.

    The use of the template by auditors can happen offline and according to CB internal procedures.

    Once filled in, the report can undergo an offline review by a certification body until it is finally approved. (The certification body can also choose to perform online writing/review in their own online file sharing systems).

    When internally approved, the data from the final version of the report is then uploaded to the FSC database via the embedded synchronization function by a certification body representative with log-in credentials. Please note, that FSC does not synchronize the entire Word file but only the data entered into the required fields. FSC will in other words not have access to additional fields added by certification bodies, version history or review comments made during the peer review process.

    Please consider that FSC does not consume the Word document itself. FSC only consumes data points inside this document when you use the “Upload data” function.

    Considering the final and approved version of the report, a reviewer or a decision-maker should submit it. 

  3. Can the report template be used on tablets or other mobile devices with Word installed?

    Yes. the add-in works in any device with MS-Word 2013 onwards.

    This means that it can be filled in on any type of device – mobile, laptop, smartphone – with Word installed. 

    We advise that the report template is prepared and synchronized for local storage on the device, prior to travelling to the audit to ensure seamless ability to work in the template. The offline ability and cross-platform functionality were one of the advantages, which made us selected using a template in Word format instead of a Web version. 

  4. Why older versions of Word cannot be used?

    Some features/tools used in the template, such as the ability to repeat sections, will not work properly in older Word versions.

    We therefore advise a certification bodies to use 2013 or above for the correct functioning of the template.

  5. How will the translation to the languages other than languages the template is currently available in be performed?

    It is a requirement of FSC that the public summary of a forest management audit report shall be made available in  at least one of the official language(s) of the country in which the certified forest management unit is located, or the most widely spoken language of the indigenous people in the area in which the certified forest management unit is located. 

    The report template is available in 9 different languages that are reviewed for correctness by native speakers. The 9 languages cover the regions of the world with most FSC forest management certificates. In the future, templates in more languages will be available, according to the number of reports received.

    To ensure fast and easy translation to countries in the World not covered by the current translations of the template, we have integrated the machine translation. This means that the public summary can be translated in 110 languages using the integrated plug-in. Machine translation will require proof reading by the auditor to ensure correctness. (The same will apply to contents inserted in templates provided in 9 proof-read templates.) 

    To make use of the machine translation, the certification body must have implemented all modules of FM online, which is only mandatory from 1 January 2022.

    Throughout 2021 certification bodies who have not implemented all modules yet will need to translate the public summary to local language manually.

Access to data and data integration

  1. Will FSC provide a public API integration with CB systems? or an option for data export?

    The API integration with CB’s own data management system is not yet available. However, during 2021 we will be working towards this functionality. When available, the integration will require alignment with FSC data schema or mapping of data against it. Therefore, such an effort may not bring enough benefits from integration.

  2. Will CB be able to access and use the data for their own analytics?

    We are aware of and fully understand that certification bodies similarly to FSC use the data from data reports to ensure internal quality control, trend analysis of own data, etc. We therefore also understand the need for data access or data extraction.

    In the certification portal, CBs will be able to access the data stored in FSC DB about their own certificates.

    FSC will build analytics based on the expected data from FM Online during 2021 and will as part of the process explore to which extend it is possible for us to share the analytics results directly with certification bodies. 

    If a certification bodies would like to develop a similar system to that of FSC and import data directly from the template into own systems, this is possible if the certification body has infrastructure or tools that allows data extraction. 

  3. Is it possible to feed the report fields from an excel file or another database instead of filling in the Word template itself?

    Yes, from the technical point of view it is possible to provide data for the required fields by using Excel, CSV files or JSON format. 

    However, the effort and funding likely required for developing such solution is likely to make it unattractive as we therefore do not recommend it. Should a certification body wish to explore possibilities, please reach out to us on

Entry and correction of data 

  1. Will the basic information on management unit, such as species, only be completed once?

    Yes, unless the core data like species composition changes over time. 

    The core data entered about e.g. species in the first report using the template will be uploaded to and saved in the FSC database, if all modules are implemented (Mandatory from 1 January 2022). For the next audit, the core data from previous reports can be fetched to the template. 

    The core data only changes if new additions or edits are made (e.g. new species added) or old records removed.

  2. What shall be done in the case there is a need to correct data in a finalized report?

    The system has a build in function to correct mistakes in a finalized report. It is called “Submit errata” and can be used to make any necessary corrections. 

    Please note that the function only works if a certification body has implemented all FM online modules. 

    As integration of synchronization is only mandatory from 1 January 2022, the template can be manually corrected and re-uploaded into the FSC Salesforce throughout 2021. 

  3. Is it possible to add information to the template – such as register a list of all locations within MU visited during the evaluation (“sites”)?

    Yes, it is possible to add additional data than what is required by FSC, such as a list of sites visited during an audit. This is done by simply adding additional fields in the template.

    However, this additional data will not be uploaded to and stored in the FSC database. Only summary data included in regular template fields will be consumed by FSC and include in the public summary. 

  4. Can an audit period be split into more than one set of consecutive dates?

    For the moment it is not possible. 

    If it is necessary to report non-consecutive audits dates, we advise the user to define the first date of the first audit period and the last day of the last audit period, resulting in a very long audit duration. The actual audit dates can then be inserted into the Audit Itinerary section, to ensure better data quality.

  5. Why does a Main Assessment audit report have to be completed an uploaded within 90 days?

    FSC has introduced a 90-day deadline for completing Main Evaluation Audit Report to ensure timely public summaries and adequate transparency of our system.

    However, the report can be uploaded with open non-conformities (or if the certificate is not issued yet to inform that the organization is still an applicant). Any open non-conformities can be closed later by using the “submit errata” function and issue the certificate.

Management of Non-conformities

  1. Will open non-conformities from a previous audit appear automatically in the report from the current audit to be closed during the current audit?

    The non-conformities from previous audits can be fetched to the template as other data.

    A certification body can choose to open or close the non-conformities during the current audit or use the “submit errata” function to close non-conformities in between the audits.

Management of species lists

  1. How did FSC create the list of 60.000 species and will they all be made available to choose from in the template and stored in the FSC database?

    We used different technologies to collect data from several data sources to build this list, for example, from ITTO - International Tropical Timber Organization or other plant-related databases. 

    The list is used in the integrated species dictionary embedded in the forest management audit report template and as such all 60.000 species are available in the report. 

    The template provides a list of most common species to choose from. Other species needs to be typed in and the embedded dictionary will indicate any errors from direct typing the species name in. the misspelled species name can be corrected by right-click and following a dictionary suggestion for the correct name. 

  2. What should auditors do when a particular species (scientific and common names) is missing in the FSC template?

    Hopefully, the scenario of a missing species is a theoretical one. We have made a lot of effort to compile a master tree species list with many species available in the template. We therefore hope and anticipate that all required species are covered. 

    We also hope that the provided list will be an improvement compared to the current situation with multiple different entries for the same species in our current database, as the list contains no duplication, as well no subspecies, no variation, no hybrid and no clones.

    In unlikely case when a given needed species is not available, please contact FSC at

    Any difficulties regarding the correct use of tree species in the template can be reported to and we can advise you about the best approach.

  3. How should hybrids be reported in the template?

    If an audit report needs to include a hybrid species e.g. from a plantation, it is indicated by choosing one of the species of the hybrid and adding information about the hybrid in the remarks field. 

  4. Is it possible to upload the species in a separate spreadsheet (such as the one for group members), rather than to add them to the Word template?

    Species information is one of the most critical ones for FSC in terms of material origin and system integrity.

    We are aware that some forest areas have multiple species in their inventory and that adding each species will require adding a new row and selecting the species from the prepared list. 

    However, for the time being it is not possible to create spreadsheets to accompany the word template. To ensure that the solution provided was a simple as possible for everyone to use, we have in this case opted to not add complexity by adding multiple solutions. 

    We have done this based on the fact, that the species list only will have to be created once per certified forest area and then can be fetched from the database as part of the data synchronization and adapted as needed in case of changes.

Management of pesticides

  1. How will the revised Pesticide policy requiring Environmental and Social Risk Assessment (ESRA) for pesticides, that are not listed in the FSC HHP list, be reflected in the template?

    The template will have by the end of 2020 an embedded dictionary of a broad collection of pesticides, including ones not listed on the FSC HHP list (according to FSC-POL-30-001a). 

    When an ESRA is required, the applied pesticide shall be listed in the template and the box “Applicable” checked for the ESRA. 

    The dictionary embedded in the template will be aligned with classification of pesticides according to FSC-POL-30-001a.

  2. What units of pesticide use are available in the template?

    Pesticides can be expressed in kg or liters.
    You can change the settings in the section 1 – Introduction.

  3. Is it possible to enter different pesticides that are applied during the same year in different areas within certified area?

    Yes, it is possible to add multiple rows in pesticide section to indicate which pesticides are used when and where.

    Auditors can use the + (plus button) on the right side of the table to add multiple pesticides.


  1. What is FM Online?

    The project FM Online focuses on standardizing the existing FSC audit reporting formats into one, new single digital format. In ‘FM Online’, ‘FM’ stands for ‘forest management’. It is the name of the project because it focuses solely on audit reports from forest management evaluations.

    Standardized FSC FM audit reporting will enable us to access properly audit data, aggregate them and to identify trends, outcomes and risk areas in order to evaluate and improve the FSC system. FM Online will also ensure that public summaries are automatically created in a standardized format, making it much easier for researchers and stakeholders to use and analyze the data they contain on an aggregated level.

    In the absence of a centralized format, certification bodies have created their own – and usually different – versions of audit reporting templates. They use different programs, layouts and phrasing to fill in the same fields. This makes the data contained in the reports very difficult to process and learn from. The new digital audit reports that FM Online will introduce will address this problem.

  2. Which tool will be used?

    For FSC, it is key that the system is as easy as possible for certification bodies to use and integrate in their everyday work. As a result, the proposed format for the report is a simple Microsoft Word template with relevant add-ons. This format will enable us to synchronize the relevant data fields through a centralized database. The template will not include macros or other insecure elements.

  3. Can the template be used offline?

    Yes. The template can be used offline, while the user prepares, fills in, reviews and finalizes the report in a Microsoft Word document. The auditor or reviewer will only need to be online while downloading certificate holder information (such as license number, certification number, address, contact person, etc.) and data from previous audits (e.g. previous non-conformities). Users will also have to be online while uploading data from the report to the central database, which will then prepare the public summary. The upload of data will take place from the office of the certification body, where offline functionality is not as crucial as in the field.

  4. Will the template be mandatory for certification bodies?

    Yes, FSC will make FM Online and related solutions mandatory for certification bodies to successfully improve the data quality and usability of FSC forest management audit reports.

    FSC members enabled and supported this decision. At the last FSC General Assembly, the membership actually approved a motion calling for FSC to implement a centralized and enable data analysis to capture trends and identify risks.

    However, FSC will only make the audit report format mandatory upon successful testing of real audit scenarios. We will also keep certification bodies continuously engaged in the development process to ensure the template is ready for the roll-out.

    Only data currently required in the reporting standard will be mandatory, but the template will include voluntarily fields to add other data that are critical for FSC.

  5. Will all data from the reports be uploaded into a central database?

    All information from audit reports inserted into predefined data fields will be captured, as requested by FSC members in the motion above mentioned.

    However, only a small portion of the audit report – that is the public summary – will be open and accessible from the FSC International website.

  6. Will aggregated statistics of FM audit results be publicly available?

    Yes, these statistics will be publicly available. With the successful scaling up of FM Online, all relevant information, which is currently available through individual public summary reports, could be aggregated and analyzed from different angles and groups, such as by country, or forest type, etc.

  7. Who will get access to aggregated data and can run reports?

    Users and access rights will remain the same as now.

    FSC will have access to the data from full audit reports. However, only some of the data will be available for public users to run aggregated reports, i.e. data from public summary reports.  Certification bodies must currently manually enter most of this data into our database. Public summaries are also generated manually, by copying and pasting information from the full report.

    With FM Online, there will be no need to manually enter data into the database or create a public summary. Aggregated data will include data, which is already publicly available today through FSC Facts and Figures and will consist of data like the number of certified hectares, forest type, ownership structure (private/public).  Additionally, direct data flow from FM Online will enable work on data related to non-conformities or non-timber forest products, which today is only accessible from public summary PDFs.

    Other parts of the data contained in the public summary reports will be available to relevant FSC entities and to researchers with a justified reason for being granted access to the data. For instance, viewing the number of corrective action requests for a given certification body. This data can be used to identify which indicators often spark corrective action requests and hence where FSC standards need to be improved or have additional guidance developed.

    Relevant FSC entities will still be able to run aggregated reports including all data from the audit reports, beyond those of the public summaries. This is also possible today, where the same units have access to the information by obtaining full reports and checklists through ASI.

    As the scheme owner, FSC takes overall responsibility of data aggregation to ensure transparency, monitor the impact and communicate properly to stakeholders. However, the certification bodies remain responsible for the data entered in the database.

  8. Will confidential information be uploaded to the database?

    There will be no change in the mandatory information collected by certification bodies relative to today. Fulfilling certification requirements almost always require confidential information to be collected and evaluated. Not all of this information must be included in the audit report. When confidential information is included in the audit report, it will be treated as confidential when uploaded into the database.

    All sensitive information and data shall be treated with discretion and in conformity with the EU GDPR requirements.

    In case local laws and regulations prevent such information to be collected via certification data, FSC shall be notified as it would be a case of conflict with legal requirements for FSC certification.

  9. Will personal information be uploaded to the database?

    There will be no change in the information currently collected by certification bodies. As it is the case today, certain personal information will be uploaded.
    This information includes:

    • contact person for CB,
    • names and expertise of auditors,
    • name of per reviewer,
    • names and contact details of group members,
    • the Iist of institutions / individuals informed about the evaluation and,
    • a list of individuals who were interviewed by auditors or who contributed information in writing.

    All personal identifiable information will be excluded from public access. All sensitive information and data will be treated with discretion and in conformity with the EU GDPR requirements.

    In case local laws and regulations prevent such information to be collected via certification data, FSC shall be notified as it would be a case of conflict with legal requirements for FSC certification.

  10. Where will the database be stored and under which security level?

    The database will be stored in a centralized Microsoft data center in Europe, which will enable us to provide the highest level of data protection, in conformity with the EU GDPR requirements.

    Access to the database will be subject to identity management, ensuring that strict access management to the data can be put in place. Only users tied to an individual certificate holder – i.e. their auditor, the central managers of that given certification body or the certificate holder themselves – will be able to access the data on a given certificate.

  11. Will the new public summary reports provide more information than the past ones?

    No. The new template will contain the exact same information as in the previous reports, as it follows the same normative requirements, stipulated in FSC-STD-20-007b, and evolves with the future revision of FSC-STD-20-007.

    The only change is that the new public summary will make the information easier to digest across different certification bodies and that the data fields containing data, which can be aggregated, will now be easily available for trend analysis and risk identification.

  12. Will the FM Online project include a revision of the content of the public summary reports?

    FSC has been asked by our stakeholders to make it easier to monitor impact and evaluate the effect of FSC certification. To enable this, we will review the current scope of data that is required as part of the   revision of FSC-STD-20-007 in 2020. This revision will include public consultation.

    It is important that FSC improves in reporting on impact monitoring and evaluation, and we welcome all comments and proposals during the upcoming revision of FSC-STD-20-007 in 2020.

  13. Will the template and data transmission function work with multiple languages?

    The template and database will in principle support most languages, as it is built on the Unicode Transformation Format UTF-8 – the universal encoding language used for the vast majority of all websites and email programs globally. This means that both the template and the database might be available in most of the languages used globally.

    However, the major challenge will be to ensure that the template itself is translated into the relevant languages and continuously updated.

    FSC will tackle this by translating the template into languages in a prioritized order. Initially the template will only be available in English.

  14. Will the report template be adapted to regional and national FSC FM standards?

    National working groups develop FSC FM standards on a national or regional level.

    There are three levels of requirements in an FSC FM standard: principle, criterion and indicator. The principles define the backbone of the FSC definition of a sustainable forest management. Each principle is broken down into a series of criteria of what must be met to be FSC certified. The national – or regional – working groups define what the indicators should be to prove that a given criterion has been met on a local scale. In cases where there is no national or regional standard, certification bodies can create interim standards.

    The report template does not intend to capture detailed checklist on the indicator level for every regional / national FM standard. Instead, the information will be based on a criterion level to address the diversity of different national standards and certification bodies’ interim standards.

  15. Will there be different templates for a main evaluation audit and for surveillance audits?

    Yes, there will be different templates, because the requirements to prepare main evaluations and surveillance are different.

    In addition, a surveillance audit requires that non-conformities from previous evaluation must be included in the report. As a result, these must be transferred from the cloud database into the template.

  16. How will special audits (not certified /recertification / monitoring audits) be handled by the system?

    In the short term the platform will cover main evaluation and surveillance evaluation, which are mandatory for certification and support of a FM certificate.

    If in the future certification bodies find it useful to add commonly occurring audits, the FM Online team will address this need by adding new features.

  17. Will everyone have access to the FM Online report template?

    The FM Online report template is intended to be used by FSC auditors and reviewers within certification bodies. As a result, all certification bodies will have access to an empty version of the template.

    Other interested stakeholders can request access from FSC with justifiable reasons to use it.

  18. Will FM Online be integrated with a Geographic information system (GIS) software – to map certified forest?

    FM Online does not integrate any GIS software and there is no plan to do so at the moment.

    That said, FM Online will result in more opportunities to link FSC certificate data with GIS tools thanks to the standardization of geo-spatial data captured in the report. This could be through the use of GIS verification platform to help auditors identify where to focus their audits on the ground and incorporate this information into the audit report template. Through the report, it could also make available direct links to voluntarily uploaded GIS maps – with layers showing high conservation value areas, protected areas, etc.

    The template shall also enable integration of geo-spatial data collected for wood identification – to prevent illegal logging – or other purposes.

  19. How will the templates ensure the consistent use of units?

    To maintain consistency, two points must be considered:

    1. Only specific measures will be used and stored in the database, e.g. m3 for round wood, ton for rubber or resin;
    2. The template will provide automatic conversion of commonly used units within defined fields (i.e. conversion of acres to hectares) to ensure data consistency and the ability to compare data.
  20. Will the quality of the input data be checked during the upload?

    Yes, the data will be checked as they get uploaded to ensure that data quality is consistent. The data validation through the Word template will ensure that:

    • numeric values are consistent and acceptable,
    • mandatory fields are filled,
    • telephone number has the characteristics of a telephone number, or
    • forest types selected are justifiable, i.e. that tropical forests do not appear in Europe.

    Certification bodies will be asked to correct any fields, in which the data do not follow the prescribed structure.

  21. Will the database capture open text fields or graphs inserted out of the predefined data fields in the template?

    Yes, the template will contain extra space for the auditor to add open text fields and graphs – as needed beyond the predefined data fields.

    These elements and the information they include will remain solely within the Microsoft Word document – shared between the certificate holder, the certification body and ASI. FSC will not synchronize the data from these fields into its centralized database.

  22. Will the template enable certification bodies to identify both plantations and natural forests within the same forest management unit (MU)?

    Plantations often co-exist with natural forests within the same MU. It is not currently possible for certification bodies to mark one FMU as including both forest types. The new report template and database have been designed to enable certification bodies to capture both forest types in a given MU.

    However, this information is not spatially identifiable (meaning that it is not visible on a detailed map with clear borders between plantations and natural forests). It only exists as a data field indicating the areas in terms of numbers.

  23. Will digital audit reports also be developed for the chain of custody audits?

    Yes. After successful implementation of FM Online, follow-up projects, such as chain of custody digital audit reports and controlled wood digital audit reports, will be initiated. Learnings from FM Online and the developed templates and database will provide a good starting point for other similar projects.

  24. Will legacy data (or old FM audit reports) be converted into the new template?

    No, historical data from previous audit reports in PDF, Word or Excel format – will not be converted into the new template. The primary information of present FM certificate holders in current platform (e.g. company name and contacts) will be copied to the new database. This project will only provide solutions for future audit reports.