Policy Options to Address Historical Performance by New Certification Applicants

Every standards scheme will face challenging, real-world situations that demand a coherent policy approach. Often, other schemes will have had to confront similar situations, analogous policy models exist, and there are lessons to be learned.

Like many new certification schemes, the Cornerstone Standards Council put a lot of its early effort into the development of its standard – in its case, for the certification of responsibly quarried aggregates. Discussion of its draft standard threw up a number of underlying policy/strategic questions. One such question was the best approach for the assessment and possible certification of sites where quarrying had been taking place for many years, but in locations that would not now be compliant with SCS’s proposed standard, or that had been initiated without the stakeholder consultation that would now be required. Should such sites be allowed to apply for certification, subject to some improvements, or should they be permanently excluded? What rules should apply if quarries are established in the future, but do not apply for certification prior to their establishment?

The Cornerstone Standards Council contracted OneWorldStandards to identify and review policy options that have been developed by other schemes to address analogous problems, such as the issue of historical deforestation in the case of FSC-certified plantations, and case of compensation for historical damage to High Conservation Values in the case of RSPO-certified oil palm production.

Based on the review, and the clarification of potential applications in the case of aggregates quarrying, Cornerstone developed its own policy approach suited to its own needs.

“Matthew has a deep and broad-based understanding of all aspects of third-party certification, including the technical requirements and the complexities and challenges of developing standards and certification systems for multi-stakeholder collaborations. His breadth of knowledge is difficult to find. We highly valued not only his knowledge and experience, but his commitment to our project, his openness to explore and analyze alternative approaches, and his creative problem solving.” – Maia Becker, Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC)

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    “OneWorldStandards was highly responsive, professional and flexible. They were able to present the information in a clear and accessible manner, while providing constructive and insightful recommendations.” – Christopher Wunderlich, United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) Coordinator