The Forest Stewardship Council ™ (FSC) is an independent, nonprofit organization that was founded in 1993 on the initiatives of representatives from international environmental organizations, wholesalers and retailers of timber, foresters, wood industry, associations of indigenous people, trade unions, and certifications bodies in response to the issue of global deforestration.
FSC sets the standards for forest management and chain of custody certification, and defines the procedures that certification bodies (TÜV SÜD) should follow in their certification assessments.
The FSC's objective is to promote responsible, sustainable foresting practices, and to help protect forests worldwide.
Chain of Custody (CoC) Certification
Tracks FSC-certified material through the supply chain, covering all stages of timber processing, transformation, manufacturing, and distribution. FSC CoC certification provides the evidence to the final consumer that products made of wood, paper, or other forest products originate from responsibly managed forests, and comply with the ecological, social, and economic requirements of the FSC-certification systems.
CoC certification can also be used to verify compliance with public or private procurement policies and specifications such as credits for the U.S. Green Building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, or the EU Ecolabel scheme for furniture.
Chain of custody certification is carried out by an independent, qualified, and accredited certification body such as TÜV SÜD.
All processors, manufactures, and traders who take legal possession of the certified products must have the FSC CoC certificate to provide credible guarantee of the origin of wood in the product. CoC certification is not only for processors, traders, distributors of wood, paper or other forest products, but also for the packaging industry and printers.
FSC does not issue certificates. Independent certification bodies such as TÜV SÜD America, carry out the forest management and chain of custody assessments that lead to FSC certification.
FSC certificates are valid for five years. As a certification body, TÜV SÜD will conduct annual surveillance audits to verify your continued compliance with FSC certification requirements.
Certification Options include:
- Single-Site Certification- for smaller organizations
- Group Certification- smaller companies can form groups to make CoC certification accessible where individual certification may be too costly
- Multi-Site Certification- for larger enterprises operating at multiple locations
- FSC Project Certification - for building projects, one-off, and complex products
Responsible Forest Management
Obtaining an FSC CoC certification sends a message to the market and to consumers that your products are environmentally responsible, your company is sensitive to conservation efforts, and compliant to FSC standards and applicable laws. Wood products with FSC CoC certificates have a market advantage in comparison to products whose origin is unclear.
FSC CoC Certification Benefits
- Opens your business up to highly environmentally sensitive markets and business where FSC-certified products are required
- Allows easy access to certified retailers listed on FSC.org's website
- Helps customers make educated choices to contribute to responsible business practices and global conservation
- Provides a sustainable business by using sustainable materials
- Ensures that suppliers have a legal and responsible approach