RFS Principals have a proven track-record as evaluators and auditors across a broad range of Forestry activities, and have worked in Temperate, Boreal, and Tropical environments around the world. RFS has conducted assessments of programs and projects that focus on issues such as integrated land use plans (e.g. ArBolivia, an agroforestry/carbon project in Bolivia, and the International Model Forest Network, in a project led by ArborVitae), and the identification of drivers and challenges in the implementation of ODA programs aimed at supporting forest sustainability checklists (The Amazon Alternative; see below). In some cases, RFS has designed and implemented specific evaluation tools, appropriate to the project requirements. This has been the case for projects and Due Diligence evaluations implemented to meet private-sector clients’ needs, and also notably the Mid-Term Evaluation of The Amazon Alternative undertaken on behalf of Dutch ODA in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. In other cases RFS used evaluation tools developed by the client, or schemes to which they adhere; these include frameworks developed by the EcoEnterprises Fund (for use in Due Diligence reviews of investment partners, and evaluating their performance), ArBolivia (the Plan Vivo methodology, to enable the sale of carbon credits), and Electrabel (Belgian Utility’s Audit Procedures for wood pellet producers). RFS has also contributed to the development of evaluation tools by clients, and/or their field-testing and review, with a view to their improvement (confidential clients).
Finally, RFS’ experience indicates that stakeholder consultation is critical for the evaluation of any program or project. RFS has extensive stakeholder consultation experience both in program evaluation and in auditing natural resource management regimes, with long-term involvement with the development and use of the FSC Standards (and other BMP-based approaches) as a catalyst for sustainable development processes. RFS Principals work internationally and are accustomed to engaging with local stakeholders, ranging from communities and Indigenous Peoples to government entities (including traditional authorities), in order to fully understand and articulate the specifics of a given context, and particularly recognize the importance of including the active participation of women in consultation processes.