Trishkin M. (2019). Assessment of forest industries compliance to forest certification standards in northwestern Russia.

Russia has approximately 43 million hectares of forests under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme. This thesis investigated the perceptions of certified and non-certified companies towards forest certification (FC), and to what degree the representatives of these companies agree with the benefits and barriers of the FC process. The Due Diligence System (DDS) employed by each company were analyzed to investigate their effectiveness in tracking and preventing illegal timber entering the timber supply chain of the company. Moreover, non-conformities (NCs) to FSC Principles during the period 2011–2015 were analyzed based on severity (minor and/or major) as per the FSC principles, geographical location, and size of leased forest area.

The results of these interconnected studies showed that both certified and non-certified companies perceive FC as an economic initiative and as an opportunity for new markets. FC is seen to provide access to new markets and, thus, enables additional sales but also ensures legality of the timber and improves the company’s image and competitiveness in foreign markets (Article I). The company’s own tracking system and DDS appeared functional, but require further improvements to meet EU Timber Regulation requirements (Article II). Analyzes of the NCs in Northwestern (NW) region and within the Russia showed that the number of minor NCs have increased since 2011; from 221 to 363 incidents by 2015, which also coincides with the increase in the number of issued FSC certificates i.e. increased area under certification. The highest number of recorded minor and major NCs in NW region and Russia were related to Principle 6. The results further indicated that the total number of identified NCs was highest for large-size leaseholders in the NW region. However, in the Russia as a whole the majority of minor and major NCs occurred with small-sized leaseholders (Article III and Article IV).