Controlled Wood

Controlled Wood

The FSC Mix label was introduced in 2004 and allows manufacturers to mix FSC-certified material with non-certified materials in FSC-labeled products under controlled conditions. The non-certified material subject to these controlled conditions is referred to as "Controlled Wood." This system has enabled manufacturers to maintain an efficient supply chain while creating demand for FSC-certified products.

The FSC Controlled Wood Standard minimizes the risk of using wood products from ‘unacceptable’ sources in FSC-labeled products. The following types of wood and wood products are considered unacceptable, and are avoided in FSC-labeled products through Controlled Wood sourcing:

  • Illegally harvested wood
  • Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
  • Wood harvested in forests where High Conservation Values are threatened by management activities
  • Wood harvested from natural forests that were converted to non-forest uses
  • Wood from genetically modified trees.

Currently, companies making Controlled Wood claims must carry out a risk assessment to identify the risk of their non-certified wood coming from these unacceptable sources. Only those sources deemed "low risk" may be considered Controlled Wood and therefore mixed with FSC-certified materials. This risk assessment must be independently verified as part of Chain-of-Custody certification.

A National Risk Assessment (NRA) process is now underway that will replace the use of company-developed risk assessments. Once completed, this NRA will detail which regions of the country are low risk, and what steps companies have to take to source Controlled Wood in regions where there are specified risks. Up to date information on the revision of the Controlled Wood system and development of National Risk Assessments is available on the FSC International website.

One useful tool for assessing risk associated with non-certified wood is the FSC Global Forest Registry. This registry provides information on the risks of sourcing wood products from unacceptable sources throughout the world. It covers more than 150 countries and is designed to meet the needs of companies sourcing FSC Controlled Wood.