Strengthening the Timber Legality Verification System Standard

Strengthening the Timber Legality Verification System Standard

he Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) has been in force for around 10 years in Indonesia, since the enactment of the Minister of Forestry Regulation No. P.38 / Menhut-II / 2009. Over the last 10 years, there have been many improvements to the assessment standards used to assess or verify business units that wish to obtain certification in the SVLK scheme, namely certification of Sustainable Production Forest Management (PHPL) or Timber Legality Verification ( VLK).

SVLK continues to improve to continue to improve the reliability and credibility, where all stakeholders who are part of this system have roles in accordance with their duties and functions in the continuous improvement. Stakeholders from this system can be identified, including:

  1. Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) as the owner of the scheme as well as the stakeholders,
  2. Other policy holders (Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industry, related agencies both in the Province and District / City),
  3. Businessmen,
  4. Certification bodies (LP-PHPL and LVLK),
  5. Independent Monitors, and
  6. National Accreditation Committee (KAN)

Review more about the important role of assessment / verification standards in SVLK contained in Perdirjen P.14 / PHPL / SET / 4/2016 used as a reference by business actors to meet SVLK requirements and as an audit criteria for LP-PHPL and LVLK in carrying out its function as a certification body in this SVLK scheme.

The latest standards that are still used for evaluation in PHPL or VLK certification are the Minister of Environment and Forestry Regulation Number P.30 / Menlhk / Setjen / PHPL.3 / 3/2016 and the Director General of Sustainable Production Forest Management Regulation Number P.14 / PHPL / SET / 4/2016.

If examined carefully, the Ministerial Regulation (Permen) and the Regulation of the Directorate General (Perdirjen) has been in effect for approximately 3 years, during which time there are some inputs, including changes to several laws and regulations that have implications for some requirements (verifier) that in Perdirjen No. P.14 / PHPL / SET / 4/2016. For this reason, there needs to be a revision of the standard used as the basis for the assessment (audit criteria), namely Permen LHK No. P.30 / Menlhk / Setjen / PHPL.3 / 3/2016 and Perdirjen No. P.14 / PHPL / SET / 4/2016. The revision is not only to accommodate changes in the relevant laws and regulations, it is also needed to further enhance the credibility of the SVLK in the eyes of consumers. Because it is undeniable that several parties have made studies and criticized the SVLK, and began to question the reliability of this system to be able to reduce or even eliminate the occurrence of illegal timber trade.

Some points that need attention and are considered as input for improving standards are as follows:

  1. The need to adjust SVLK standards with related laws and regulations, both those issued by KLHK itself and other related legislation used as a reference in conducting assessments / verification.
  2. Consideration should be given to reviewing the structure of standards by considering making more generic requirements so that they are more adaptive to the development and changes of other relevant laws and regulations. For example, it should be considered not to specifically mention the business legality requirements (HO, SIUP, etc.), but rather to use more general statements, for example ‘business legality’. The more generic requirements will also provide sufficient space for the auditor to make adjustments to the applicable standard requirements in accordance with the conditions of the auditee audited.
  3. Consideration should be given to simplifying and adjusting standards for Industrial VLK certification regarding type of permit and industry size. Regulations related to the size / capacity / amount of investment issued by the Ministry of Industry need to be considered to revise these standards.
  4. Consideration should be given to reviewing the implementation and requirements of the Supplier Conformity Declaration (DKP). The author’s knowledge of the DKP included in the SVLK is based on the argumentation of allowing self-declare by suppliers referring to ISO 17050: 2004 standard on Conformity Assessment. This DKP applies to wood originating from cultivated private forest and Business License for Timber Forest Product Primary Industries (IUIPHHK) which 100% of the raw material processed comes from cultivated private forest. The philosophy of self declare or Supplier Declaration of Conformity (DKP) is a supplier who declares that the product sold has fulfilled the appropriate requirements based on the applicable standards in the SVLK, so that the product sold is equivalent to the products certified in the SVLK scheme. Bearing this in mind, the authors argue it is necessary to consider the requirements and format of the declaration.
  5. To ensure the competence of auditors who carry out audit activities, SVLK has rules that require each auditor to pass a competency test conducted by the Personal Certification Institute (LSP). This system is very good and deserves to be maintained. To ensure that this system can run effectively and credibly, it is necessary for LSPs to carry out the auditor’s personal certification process to always update the assessment standards used, specifically to follow changes in certification requirements, both issued by the KLHK, ISO and KAN institutions.

The input is expected to be able to strengthen SVLK standards, and become a sustainable system for realizing good forest governance.

Download the full article in the 13th edition of the newsletter “The Monitor”