The forest management certification standard entitled Malaysian Criteria and Indicators for Forest Management Certification(Natural Forest)or in short MC&I(Natural Forest), replaces the MC&I(2002), which has been revised based on international practice and the standard setting process for the development of certification standards under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) where it is required that any certification standard used is to be reviewed at least every five years to ensure continuous improvement.
The Board of Trustees of the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) has agreed on a revised transition plan for the change from the use of the MC&I(2002) to the MC&I(Natural Forest) beginning from 1 January 2012 to 31 May 2013. The 17-month transition period encompasses six months for application (required for introducing changes, information dissemination, training and endorsement of the new standard by the PEFC Council), i.e. an application date of 1 July 2012 and 11 months for transition before the standard becomes mandatory on the transition date of 1 June 2013.
All notified certification bodies (CBs) would be ready to carry out audits against MC&I(Natural Forest) by 1 July 2012. Therefore, by 1 July 2012, all audit plans prepared for existing certificate holders and new applicants shall include the MC&I(Natural Forest) as the audit requirement.
All holders of the Certificate for Forest Management and new applicants for forest management certification under the MTCS are required to adhere to the following:
1. All holders of the Certificate for Forest Management to the MC&I(2002) are required to submit a plan for transition to their respective CB by 1 July 2012. The plan shall clearly indicate the end date for the transition process, which shall not go beyond 31 May 2013.
2. All applications for forest management certification against MC&I(2002) received after 1 July 2012 will not be accepted.
3. After 1 July 2012, all the audits of certificate holders/applicants shall be against the MC&I(Natural Forest). However, any deviation from the additional requirements found in the MC&I(Natural Forest) as compared to the MC&I(2002) will be raised as “Observations” and not as “Non-conformities”.
4. From 1 February 2013, all “Observations” against the MC&I(Natural Forest) raised during the audits will be reviewed by the CB and classified as major/minor nonconformity(ies) and the findings will be communicated to the certificate holders/applicants for necessary corrective actions.
5. Certificate holders/applicants found to comply with the requirements of the MC&I(Natural Forest) will be awarded with a new certificate valid for three (3) years.
6. If satisfactory evidence of conformance to the MC&I(Natural Forest) is not made available to the CB by 31 May 2013, then the Certificate of Forest Management of the certificate holder shall be suspended for a maximum of three (3) months. Failure to comply with the MC&I(Natural Forest) by the end of the suspension period shall result in the withdrawal of the certificate by the CB.