Help FSC conserve forests at our virtual hackathon

Dr. Joanna Nowakowska

Forest Stewardship Council

Do you code? Do you want to help combat climate change and protect forests throughout the globe? And most importantly, do you want to win prizes?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, join us for DocuSign’s Good Code hackathon July 7 – August 31 which will now take place virtually.

Compete for a $10K grand prize and over $50K in total prizes. Register today!

FSC is on a mission to ensure that all our forests are safeguarded through sustainable forest management–forests that thrive environmentally, socially, and economically–Forests for All Forever. When forest owners or timber companies become FSC-certified, it means they are managing forests in responsible ways that protect biodiversity, workers, and Indigenous People’s rights, and the livelihoods of thousands of community forest managers all around the world.

This mission is critical, because we all depend on forests in our everyday lives – for everyday paper products, for helping combat climate change and for ensuring the livelihoods of billions of people around the globe. FSC needs your help in achieving its mission, and some of the biggest challenges our forests face can be solved with technology.

 

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And that is where you and your brilliant mind comes in!

FSC helps to verify whether forests are managed sustainably. We develop standards for how forests should be managed, and third-party independent evaluators visit these forests to verify whether our standards are followed. If they are, the forest manager is entitled to receive our certificate.

While we continue with our goals, COVID-19 takes a toll on people’s lives all around the globe. What does it have to do with us? A lot.

Forests are also about people and we need to act now!

The journey of sustainable wood does not end in the forest. Certified timber or other forest products often travel through long and very diverse supply chains before we can see them on shelves. Everyone within the supply chain that handles certified products must be certified according to the “CoC” (chain of custody) standards, so that we can have confidence that what is labeled is indeed originating from certified forests or from other allowed sources, and be sure that certified material is well handled and documented.

Everyone in the supply chain must undergo annual verification by an independent third party to maintain their certificate and be able to stay in the business of supplying certified forest products.

For many CoC businesses, having FSC certification is often a purchase requirement from the buyer further down the line, and the ability to supply certified material may have a significant role in the prosperity of small businesses.

We do not grant our certificates easily. It requires understanding our requirements and an independent auditor being annually on the ground for an audit. It requires lots of documentation. So how we do it now, with travel and other restrictions?

The same goes for third-party certifiers whose work depends on their ability to visit the certified sites and perform verification. These certifiers often hire auditors who are individual contractors whose income depends on their ability to travel and the application of their unique expertise. You do not find an auditor around the corner; sometimes (mainly in forest audits) you do not find an auditor within a country!

Like many other businesses, during the lockdown our CoC-certified companies suffer–for some the factories and sites must be locked down, and those who would normally buy from them are running short of available certified material, which contributes to a domino effect. The chain of consequences has a devastating impact on the supply of certified forest products in the market. .

While there are many reasons why so many people and the entire economy suffer, our key challenge is that of our third-party certifiers’ inability to visit sites, verify the data, and confirm whether certificates may be granted or maintained. And if at least this one challenge can be solved, then at least some of the CoCcertified companies can restore their income for selling certified products.Our challenge to you

How to get started

Head over to the Good Code hackathon page at docusign2020.devpost.com. There you can sign up, view all the prizes, join our Slack and Twitch channels, and check out the details of the challenge.

Come build with us!

 

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