Between the forest and the final user, products may undergo many stages of processing, manufacturing and distribution.
FSC Chain-of-Custody certification traces the path of products from forests through the supply chain, verifying that FSC-certified material is identified or kept separated from non-certified material throughout the chain.
Any company in this supply chain, including harvesters, processors, manufacturers, distributors, printers, retailers* or anyone that is taking ownership of the forest product before the end user, needs to be FSC certified to be able to label or promote their products as FSC certified.
*NOTE: Retailers must be FSC certified to transfer the FSC claim on products that are sold to building contractors or to consumers who will be reporting their purchase of FSC-certified material, such as for the US Green Building Councils' LEED program.
However, not all retailers have to be FSC certified. Retailers that sell finished and labeled products to the general public do not have to be FSC certified; instead they can apply to have FSC logo access to promote the availability of FSC-certified products. For more information on this, please visit our Logo Use Page.
The Chain-of-Custody process ensures the consumer that the FSC-certified products they purchase are coming from responsibly managed sources. For a consumer to purchase an FSC-certified product, every company that previously had ownership of the forest product material components of the end product would have had to be FSC certified.
Version 3-0 of the FSC Chain of Custody Certification Standard is effective as of April 1, 2017. Both V2-1 and V3-0 remain effective during the transition period. At the end of the transition period, March 31, 2018, and all certificate holders will need to be audited to version 3-0 in order for their certification to remain valid.
A crosswalk of the Chain of custody standard V2-1 and V3-0 is available for download to assist certificate holders as they transition to the new standard. A set of FAQs on the Chain of Custody standard V3-0 is also available for download.
All valid Chain-of-Custody Certificates can be located on the FSC Certificate Database.
If you are interested in becoming FSC Chain-of-Custody Certified, please visit the become certified page.
For any questions regarding Chain of Custody, please contact info at us.fsc point org.