Public Consultation - Requirements for use of the FSC trademarks by certificate holders

FSC-STD-50-001 V2-0

A first draft of the revised trademark standard for certificate holders (FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2) is now available for public consultation. All stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the draft standard. Stakeholders may comment using the Comment Form provided below and comments are due by January 31, 2016

The objective of the standard revision is to streamline the trademark requirements for easier labelling and promotion without compromising credibility. The revision integrates advice notes and standard interpretations, and reviews special approvals and change requests. It also addresses Motions 29 and 36 from the 2014 FSC General Assembly. 

All consultation documents are available below and include the following:

  • First draft of the trademark standard (FSC-STD-50-001 V2-0)
  • Discussion Paper – FSC on-product labels: proposing two alternative options for on-product labels
  • FSC Trademark Standard Revision Crosswalk V2-0
  • Comment Form 

Notable proposed changes
The revised Trademark Standard includes the following notable changes. Please review the crosswalk document (available below) for more information. 

Changes to On-Product Labels
A discussion paper (available for download below) offers two new options for on-product labels that clarify the current Mix label. Option A proposes replacing the current wording with something that more accurately represents the FSC Mix claim. Option B proposes using only one label for all materials eligible for labelling within the FSC system. All stakeholders are encouraged to comment on the discussion paper, which is open for public consultation during the same period as the Trademark Standard FSC-STD-50-001. 

Self-approval of trademark use for certificate holders
An annex has been added to allow for the possibility for certificate holders to self-approve their trademark use as long as specific conditions are met. Details can be found in Annex 3 of FSC-STD-50-001 V2-0. 

Removal of very specific prohibitions
A few very specific prohibitions were removed from this standard. These include:

  • General promotion will be allowed even if there are no FSC sales or production for 12 months.
  • The use of FSC trademarks on the cover or top of documents will be allowed.
  • Text trademarks will be allowed on business cards to promote the company’s certification. 

These specific prohibitions have been removed while ensuring that adequate safeguards are in place to maintain FSC’s credibility. 

Restriction on general promotion on invoices
FSC trademarks for promotional use will no longer be allowed in invoices. This has been introduced as a way to implement Motion 36 calling for action to address confusion in the marketplace. The current standard allows promotional use on invoices with a disclaimer. 

Increased use of the mini label is allowed
The revised standard would allow all products to be labeled with the mini label. For products using the full label, the minimum size requirements will be significantly reduced.  

Webinars
FSC International will be hosting webinars for interested stakeholders. The webinars will include information on the background of the revision process, the main changes made to the standard, background considerations for the changes, the discussion paper and the revision timeline. Register for a webinar by clicking the links below:

A Consultative Forum is available for those who would like to receive regular updates throughout the revision process. You can fill out the form HERE to join the Consultative Forum. More information can also be found on the FSC International Standard Revision Webpage HERE

Thank you for your participation. If you have questions about the revised Trademark Standard, please contact Jenny Wood, FSC US Policy and Standards Manager (j.wood@us.fsc.org).