Background

There is currently one clause in the MSC Certification Requirements version 1.3 relating to certifiers (Conformity Assessment Bodies, or CABs) providing certificate holders with details of amendments to MSC requirements, this is as follows:

7.1.1 The CAB shall ensure applicants and certificate holders are issued current versions of all MSC standards and other requirements relevant to their scope of certification

There is therefore no obligation for a certifier to highlight or explain the amendments with the current requirements and no obligation to alert clients of policy changes ahead of the minimum implementation deadline.Other standard setters, such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), require certifiers to notify clients of policy changes within a set timeframe (30 days for FSC).

Each published version of the MSC Certification Requirements, and now the checklist, has a one year implementation deadline for existing Chain of Custody (CoC) certifications. MSC certificate holders may wish to transfer their certification to the new version of the MSC Certification Requirements before this, if the amendments are of benefit to them. Version 1.3 of the Certification Requirements, published in March 2013, included streamlined requirements for scope. In the last year MSC has become aware of several CoC certificate holders that were not informed of the streamlined scope requirements. When MSC notified them, the CoC certificate holders expressed concern that their certifier had not informed them, and were interested in transferring to the new requirements.