26 July 2019, Mumbai: The Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) and the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), had jointly organised an interactive meeting with the Certification Bodies (CBs) with a view to sensitize them on the Accreditation requirements for the CBs to operate upon under the NCCF Forest Management Certification Standard, at Hotel Holiday Inn, Mumbai on 26th July 2019.
This well-attended meeting deliberated on the significance and scope of forest certification in India, understanding the requirements of provisional approval and accreditation of the certification bodies from NABCB to operate on the NCCF FM certification scheme, business potential, and benefits to the CBs, etc.
Mr. AK Srivastava, Executive Director, NCCF, Mr. Anil Jauhri, CEO, NABCB (via video conferencing) and Mr. Mudit Kumar Singh, IFS, Head of Forest Force, Chhattisgarh and CEO, CGCERT were the key speakers in the meeting. Ms. Vani Bhambri Arora, Deputy Director, NABCB and Mr. Varun Grover, Assistant Director, NCCF made detailed presentations in the meeting.
Representatives of the certification bodies GICIA India Pvt Ltd, Bureau Veritas India, TUV SUD South Asia COTECNA Inspection India Pvt. Ltd., Chhattisgarh Certification Society India (CGCERT), Intertek India Pvt. Ltd., IRCLASS Systems and Solutions Private Limited, CU Inspections India Pvt. Ltd., Biocert International Pvt. Ltd, Aditi Organic Certifications Pvt. Ltd., Telangana State Organic Certification Authority (TSSOCA) attended the meeting. Some certification bodies joined the meeting via video conferencing. Further, Ms. Taruna, Manager, GICIA, which is already approved under the Scheme, provided inputs on the NABCB approval and accreditation process for CBs and auditors.
Mr. A K Srivastava, in his opening remarks, informed that NCCF is the pioneer in the country to develop the first ever country-specific Forest Management (FM) Certification Standard, that has been endorsed by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), giving it international recognition. NCCF and NABCB have signed a letter of understanding to provide accreditation and provisional approval to the CBs in India. More and more State Forest Departments (SFDs) are coming forward to take up forest certification of some forest divisions and NCCF is actively providing them professional assistance. The SFDs are in the process of inviting expression of interest from the Certification Bodies, hence, it is necessary that CBs take provisional accreditation from the NABCB.
Mr. Anil Jauhri, CEO, NABCB, while addressing the meeting via video conferencing, impressed upon the need of certification for enhancing quality, accountability, traceability and effectiveness of forest governance. He expressed that our default thinking should be to not only adopt international standards but exceed them by developing national standards which subsume international standards. He also added that international standards no longer represent the best practices but are the most accepted practice. He congratulated NCCF for going a step ahead, giving India a country-specific and internationally benchmarked certification scheme and encouraged the CBs to take accreditation for NCCF scheme.
Mr. Varun Grover, Assistant Director, NCCF presented the business potential of NCCF FM Certification Scheme. He informed that NCCF is working on development of a number of certification standards relating to different constituents of the nation’s natural resource base, that include standards for Trees Outside Forests, Non Wood Forest Products, Protected Areas and Wetlands, Ecotourism, Quality Planting Material, Biofuel, and Biomass, etc. and also developing a voluntary Carbon-Registry India.
Ms. Vani Bhambri Arora, Deputy Director, NABCB apprised the meeting about the Accreditation and Provisional approval Requirements of NABCB under the NCCF scheme.
NCCF announced that an auditor training program on NCCF FM Standard will be held on September 2019. NCCF will be discussing the same with the CBs and more details will be available on the website.
Mr. Mudit Kumar Singh, IFS, Head of Forest Force, Chhattisgarh, in his valedictory address complimented the NCCF for initiating certification revolution in the country as a Standard setting body. While appreciating the efforts of DGF&SS in promoting forest certification, he suggested that the MoEF&CC should issue some guidelines on certification like JFM Circular of 1990, which would certainly trigger the process of certification.
At the end of the meeting, the CBs had much better clarity for taking up Accreditation and Provisional approval under the NCCF FM Scheme.