International forest management audits: RMK's forests are managed sustainably, the validity of the FSC certificate was extended 15.12
The audits conducted by an international audit company specialising in forest certification confirmed that RMK's activities meet the requirements of sustainable and environmentally friendly forest management.During the audits in August and September 2021, auditors of BM Certification Estonia OÜ from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania thoroughly analysed the RMK forest management system and found that it fulfils environmental, economic and social goals in the state forest.
According to BM Certification, RMK continues to meet the requirements of FSC® and PEFC sustainable and environmentally friendly forest management. The auditors analysed RMK's compliance with the requirements of the FSC certification scheme extensively this year and as a result of the assessment, the validity of the FSC certificate was extended for the next five years.
"The extension of the FSC certificate clearly confirms that there are no doubts about RMK's environmental sustainability,” said Kristjan Tõnisson, Member of the Management Board. “Both the audit company NEPCon, which has previously assessed RMK's forest management system, and the current auditor, BM Certification, have concluded that RMK's operations comply with the requirements of the FSC standard as a result of the audit procedure.”
RMK has had the FSC forest management and supply chain certificate since 2002 and the PEFC forest management certificate since 2010. During the annual audits, the compliance of forest management with the requirements set in the standards is assessed and a deadline is set for resolving any shortcomings. Attitudes and emotions have no place in auditing – conformity assessment is an objective process based on standards regulated by international requirements.
"No major nonconformities were identified this year," added Kristjan Tõnisson. “However, the auditors noted that RMK needs to pay more attention to occupational safety and the requirements for using the FSC logo, thus finding two minor shortcomings. We are constantly working to raise the awareness of employers and employees and creating a safe working environment. RMK will conduct additional risk assessment and, if necessary, adjust the rules related to occupational safety. The nonconformity regarding the use of the FSC logo has already been resolved.”
The Estonian state forest is very rich in species and in order to preserve its natural treasures, more than 30% of the forests owned by RMK have been taken under strict protection, with no economic activities taking place there. In addition, 8% of the state forest is covered by various other protective restrictions.
The Forest Stewardship Council® has developed principles and criteria for sustainable forest management that can be used to assess the economic, social and ecological aspects of a forest owner's activities. The FSC logo is used on products that contain wood from a well-managed forest.
The PEFC certificate verifies that the forest is managed responsibly and sustainably, and that environmental, social and economic requirements are met. The PEFC label on a product or its packaging ensures that the wood or wood-based material in the product comes from sustainably managed forests and is produced responsibly.
Member of Management Board, RMK