Tech giants help FSC tackle big challenges

The Forest Stewardship Council is bringing together some of the most innovative technology companies in the world to help bring cutting-edge solutions to familiar problems.

You would be forgiven for not thinking of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) when you think of groundbreaking technology. Our concerns tend toward the analog: trees, soil, wildlife, human beings. However, since March of 2022, FSC has convened a group of the world’s most advanced technology companies to find cutting-edge solutions to the challenges FSC faces – problems like how to root out fraud in supply chains, or help smallholders compete in global markets, to name a few.

The group, called the FSC Technology Consortium, meets monthly. Convening virtually to include leaders from around the world, each meeting has an FSC topic expert share an industry problem. The group then considers possible solutions and the role information technology might play in achieving them. These discussions often continue over the following weeks as participants consider options, ideas, and next steps. What these technology companies bring to the table, says Michael Marus, FSC’s Chief Information Officer and Director of IT, is their “technology knowledge, knowhow, and expertise from a variety of domains, industries, and sectors that can spearhead the much-needed transformative impact of using technology to benefit our forests.”

Market-leading mapping and geospatial information systems provider Esri, a recognized partner of FSC, was one of the first to join, among other partners including Tableau (now part of Salesforce), which specializes in visualizing data, and Trimble, an industrial technology company, who were both keen to take part. Soon the roster included Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, DocuSign, Planet, an earth imaging company, and Slalom, a tech consulting company, joined a few months later.

Although the group is still fairly new, the FSC Technology Consortium has already started generating ideas. As a result of a convening about blockchain, DocuSign, which does electronic contract signature, is exploring ways to partner with FSC to see how their technology can help to secure blockchain transactions. As the Consortium evolves, each participant will continue sharing creative ways to use information technology strengths and advancements to accelerate FSC’s work.
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