What Community Forest Governance Designs Appear Best Suited ...
Evaluating Municipally-Owned Corporations as Community Forests Governance Structures Evelyn Pinkerton & Murray Rutherford, School of Resource & Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University Presentation to the conference Building Resilient Communities Through Community-Based Forest Management, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. January 2013 complex mandate of community forests to manage for multiple economic, social and environmental values respond to different incentives (community
standards often higher than provincial ones) expectations for truly sustainable management (on small area, difficult terrain) representative of community & accountable to it (but often conflicting constituencies) Main governance structures created by the British Columbia CFs by 2011
Tree Farm License (1) Cooperatives (3) Societies (8) First Nations government (9) Corporations partnering with other governing bodies and NGOs (5) Municipally-owned Corporations (15) Sample size informing this presentation
2-week visits to 5 CFs; 2 other brief visits Telephone interviews with 4 others Published or in-process research on 3 others 165 interviews total Review of web pages, literature Names not used here: focus on structures &
institutional arrangements, not people Criteria for evaluating CF governance structures? A 2006 review of CFA program for MoF http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/ftp/hth/external/!publish/we b/timber-tenures/community/cfa-program-review2006.pdf offered these criteria: have clear accountability to the community have active and regular involvement from a broad range of stakeholders can be held legally liable for meeting all the conditions
of the tenure Others: evaluate the processes and outcomes of decision making in CFs against the goals and objectives specified by the provincial Community Forests Program against the community forests own plans against recognized standards for decision making (Clark 2002, Bruner et al. 2005, Tyler et al. 2007) against the record of community-based management in many parts of the world without the resources to do senior government
monitoring [as in McKean 1992] Criteria for evaluating CF governance structures? Because of time limitations, this presentation uses only ONE of those evaluative measures against recognized standards for decision making (Clark 2002, Brunner et al. 2005, Tyler et al. 2007) Widely recognized standards for decision making
Process Representativeness (of community) Accountability (to community, FPB, MoF, FNs) Civic engagement (community involvement in CF Transparency Outcomes Effectiveness (in achieving objectives, goals) Adaptability (learns from experience) Equity (distribution of opportunities, benefits) Many interesting corporations in partnerships
Municipalities, regional districts, First Nations Municipalities or First Nation and local mills More than one First Nation Have many strengths, and because of need for accountability among partners, appear to have fairly representative and accountable governance. municipally-owned corporation = most frequent & diverse(?) model 1 interpretation: legally required to report only to shareholders (usually the municipality) = not legally
liable for meeting all the conditions of the tenure? Not true but a few behaved as if it were. DOWNSIDE: rare examples of governance problems around accountability, transparency UPSIDE: others show many ways to design accountability, representativeness, etc. into Articles of Incorporation Problems in 1 municipally-owned CF corporation: non-transparency ---non-transparency of management contracted out to company: managers salary c.
$190,000/yr on small AAC ---municipality has power to appoint and fire CF board; board members sworn to confidentiality; threaten lawsuits if fired members talk to public ---no published policy on how logging and other contracts awarded; minutes not public problems in 1 municipally-owned CF corporation: non-accountability ---management contractor & board chair = from majors industrial model: decisions have to be made quickly without consulting board
---limits to business activities of the corporation stated in Articles of Incorporation: To profitably manage CF in a sustainable, effective & environmentally sensitive manner with broad community participation & support --- but not done ---intent on conventional logging of drinking WS Modest reform: this MOC called to account by community Public outrage forced CF board to directly hire new mgr c. time & get transparency on costs First Nation legally stops CF cutting in drinking WS when its
moratorium disregarded; CF board agrees to 25 yr moratorium on logging in WS FOI Commission rules in favour of people who want info re CFs activities, accounts, contracts set up multiple advisory committees, including one made up of RPFs giving free advice to CF; most minutes on web site Minimize log exports (to keep more local jobs) MOC2: expertise, civic duty, stability, and honour board members have strong professional forestry & business experience
attitude of public service to their community Retired, volunteer considerable time board membership is stable badge of honour; commands respect. No town councilors serve on the community forest board -- keeps it non-political MOC2: efficient operation of small tenure through cost containment CF board hires part-time management co at c. $50,000/yr. Knows job well, keeps close eye on management decisions & costs. Many give free
expert advice to management & board. Creative, terrier-type person demands managemt fees be well below industry standard ($3.50/m3); buys pre-existing engineering plans at half price Puts management position out for bid after 2 yrs MOC2: dependable, comprehensive information available veteran in management company offers advice on experience of sub-contractors: CF awards sometimes to highest skill vs lowest cost (e.g. transparency increases effectiveness)
No city councilors on CF board (to keep it non-political) but communicate with city rep. Public demands to see all minutes. Alternatives debated: CF board member says publicly that people not willing to jeopardize drinking WS. Board & mgmt use FPC standards. MOC2: Good relations with FN and MoF First Nations on CF board; CF helps FN get own CF; both CFs coordinate road & bridge work to support activities of FNs CF; some cost sharing of road maintenance
MoF local office puts in extra work during holidays to make deadlines in CF application MOC2: distribution of benefits is transparent and accountable municipality passed by-law that community forests board could decide where profits from the community forest are allocated community forest board developed criteria for applicants such as creating local benefit, providing matching funds (showing that they had seriously worked on a project for some
time), having a business plan, employing locals, etc. MOC3: expertise, civic duty, stability alternatives are debated by the board & the public has access to all board meeting minutes Dependable, comprehensive information available from chair & manager efficient operation of small tenure through cost containment: hires management company, pays manager c. time at $35,000. Puts out
management contract for bid every 2 years MOC3: Good relations with environmental groups in community 1 CF does detailed planning with recreation user groups within its chart area: --puts skid trails where recreation group plans to build trails in future. --keeps 100 metre buffer on each side of trails; consults and profit shares 50/50 on anything taken out of buffer (removes trees from buffer only if recreation group agrees)
MOC3: distribution of benefits Invited FN to apply for CF with them Made FN both board member & beneficiary anyway. All benefits split evenly between communities CF makes allocations; at arms length from town councils distribution of benefits is transparent, accountable, and equitable: use MEC criteria Distribution of CF benefits by body
independent from municipality is key Municipality for MOC2 passed by-law that CF board had main say in where money allocated: CF board made criteria for applicants (e.g. local benefit, matching funds, business plan, employ locals) 4th non-MOC CF set up separate society to distribute profits, at arms length from CF board Creative civic engagement is key MOC3 has chair who makes regular presentations to
town, stakeholder groups, hires mgmt co to do regular public reports, has rotating at-large community seats on board who are eyes & ears 5th CF (not MOC) set up advisory committee to be communication avenue with public, give feedback, collate and organize ideas, present at venues like Farmers Market, give feedback 6th CF (not MOC) CF uses regular newsletter & weekly social gathering in pub Clear separation of leadership responsibilities creates transparency
Potential conflict of interest if manager & chair are same person. Role options: Chair: elected by board, runs meetings, sets agenda, works with exe committee (policy) Manager: implements/oversees specific projects Potential board liability without due diligence (reason MOC1 doesnt renew expensive manager) Key lessons from these cases CFs cannot afford full-time managers; costs related to engaging public & multiple values of
CF mandate must be taken into account CF board needs detailed accounting of what manager does and expertise to evaluate it The higher the expertise of CF board, the lower the cost of manager Focus of corporation only on business interests cannot serve broader public interest Key lessons from these cases: CF board is most effective when: Separation of CF board from municipal council keeps CF board non-political and thus able to recruit best
talent (RPFs, woodlot owners, etc); conflict-avoidant RPFs may be unwilling to serve on board unless nonpolitical High level of expertise/experience on CF board contributes to ethic of honourable volunteer contributions to community Multiple modes of transparency & communication maintain public support/confidence Legal constraints on MOCs BC Ministry of Community Services. Launching and Maintaining a Local Government Corporation. A Guide For Local Officials
--audited financial statements & corporate articles must be open to public at town office --requirements for annual open public meeting and conflict of interest avoidance Legal constraints on MOCs Trade, Investment & Labor Mobility Agreement (TILMA) limits MOC's ability to control to whom contracts flow, unless they are under thresholds: $75,000 for goods & services, $200,000 for construction projects http://www.tilma.ca
Public responsibilities of MOCs Although MOCs are set up legally as private corporations, they have a broader range of responsibilities to stakeholders and the general public than the typical private corporation, because of their role in, and relationship, with the community. They are more like the public corporations for which the laws of ethical and environmental responsibility is rapidly evolving.
Policy influence on MOCs from corporate law BCE decision (2008) re responsibilities of directors of corporation to stakeholders: must determine best interests of corporation with reference to interests of shareholders, employees, creditors, consumers,governments & the environment; must treat all stakeholders fairly must consider long-term interests, not just short-term profits
Policy influence on MOCs from changes in securities law Change from shareholder-centric world of giving access only to financial results Investor protection but also source of stakeholder engagement? France: all public companies listed on its main stock exchange must report on their environmental & social impacts. England: changes to corporate law to require reporting in certain circumstances
Conclusion: many MOCs DO meet ideal standards for good governance Process Representativeness Accountability Degree of civic engagement Outcomes Effectiveness [increased by transparency & civic engagement] Adaptability Equity
Conclusions Direction of corporate & securities law as well as BC policy points to greater accountability to public and possibility of adaptive policies But we are left with the question: Who will hold MOC CF boards accountable if communities dont? Should the Ministry of Forests be required to do more frequent audits? Should the BCCFA play some role? What are the risks that non-accountable CFs
can damage the CF movement? Thank you! Thanks to SSHRC Thanks to all CFs who shared thoughts. Thanks to you for listening. Feedback? questions?
References Adkins, Sam. 2011. Legal Framework and Considerations for Raising Financing in the Extractive Sector from a SRI/CSR Perspective. Presentation to Symposium on Socially Responsible Investing. U. of British Columbia. September Brunner, R.D., T.A. Steelman, L. Coe-Juell, C.M. Cromley, C.M. Edwards, and D.W. Tucker. 2005. Adaptive governance: Integrating science, policy, and decision making. New York: Columbia University Press Clark, T.W. 2002. The policy process: A practical guide for natural resource professionals. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press Tyler, S., Ambus, L., Davis-Case, D. 2007. Governance and management of
small forest tenures in British Columbia. BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management 8(2):6778. http://www.forrex.org/publications/jem/ISS41/vol8_no2_art6.pdf
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