Newsletter Stories


Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions of FSC

Forest photo- DRG

September 20, 2018


We are spending more time than ever considering how to make it easier to work with all of us at FSC. To that end, we’ve been analyzing inquiries to our information lines (info@us.fsc.org or +1 612-353-4511). We are categorizing these inquiries so we can develop, socialize and post great answers to common questions - wherever people expect to find them.

In reviewing the data thus far, we recognized this would also be useful for many of you. Feel free to bookmark and use as you tell the FSC story to others. We will use your feedback to continuously improve our communications and educational materials!

Q: I am a forest manager / supply chain company / retailer. Do I need to become FSC certified?

A:

  • For forest managers: To receive recognition and to sell FSC-certified forest products, yes, you must be certified. When a forest is FSC certified, it means that it is being managed in compliance with FSC’s environmental, social, and economic standards. FSC is the most trusted certification available and is a public recognition of commitment to responsible forest management. When a forest is FSC certified, its products can carry the FSC label.
  • For supply chain companies: If a company within a supply chain takes ownership of a FSC certified product and wants to pass along an FSC claim for that product to a business customer (or to an end customer), they must be FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certified. Examples of companies within forest-product supply chains include sawmills, manufacturers, printers, and distributors. FSC certification benefits businesses and often opens access to new markets, for example from consumers who increasingly demand FSC-certified products, to builders pursuing green building certifications such as Living Building Challenge and LEED.
  • For retailers: Retailers purchasing finished products that carry the FSC logo do not need to become certified UNLESS they also manufacture FSC products. However, all retailers who would like to promote or advertise (on a brochure, social media or website, for example) the FSC-certification of products for sale are required to secure an FSC Trademark License. This gives retailers more tools to maximize the brand value they can derive from their commitment to FSC.

Q: How do I find FSC certified products or materials?

A: There are many ways to find FSC-certified products, whether you’re a builder or architect looking for building products [Design & Build], a manufacturer looking for suppliers for a specific input material for your manufacturing process [CoC Companies], or a consumer looking for finished products made with FSC-certified solid wood, fiber, or a non-timber product like rubber [Consumers]. (Following each tool below, we’ve indicated whether it’s most useful for looking for products for building projects, manufacturers/ CoC companies, or consumers.)

The FSC Shopping/Consumer Guide - learn what you can buy to help protect forests for all, forever. Always look for the FSC label when shopping for wood or paper-based products, especially when buying things made from wood (including furniture!). Every FSC-certified product you buy - from lumber to furniture, and from paper to tissue - helps promote responsible forest management.
This resource is most useful for: Consumers

The FSC Builders' Guide is specifically dedicated to serving those interested in using responsibly sourced wood products in construction and includes tips for architects, property developers, builders, subcontractors and interior designers. On this site, you can also download list of FSC-certified suppliers that reliably carry FSC solid wood products in stock or by a maximum 4-week special order.
This resource is most useful for: Design & Build projects and developers

The Building Product Inquiry Form connects builders to FSC-certified building materials suppliers who carry products sought for specific building projects. While similar to the Builder’s Guide, it involves submitting an enquiry to ALL known suppliers, not just those known to reliably carry FSC in-stock or by 4-week order.
This resource is most useful for: Design & Build projects/managers

The FSC Certificate Database can be used to verify FSC claims, search for FSC certified companies and find FSC certified products. It can also be used to search suppliers based in a specific region by very specific product categories.

The Paper Finder includes information on FSC certified papers and printers that are located in North America.

  • This resource is most useful for: CoC Companies, or Consumers

Q: How does my company become FSC certified?

A: If your company is registered in the United States and the facilities you wish to certify are also located in the US, there are two paths to FSC chain-of-custody certification:

Path 1: If your gross annual sales in forest-related products are over $5M you should contact a certification body to get an FSC Chain of Custody certificate. You can view contact information for accredited FSC certifiers on the FSC website. The certification body will be able to provide you with a timeline for FSC certification and approximate costs, so it is worth calling a few to see who best meets your company’s needs.

Path 2: If your gross annual sales in forest-related products are under $5M you are likely eligible to join an existing group certificate at reduced costs (as opposed to becoming certified on your own, path 1 above). This is a path FSC established to make it more accessible for small businesses to become certified. Groups are formed independently from FSC, so if you are interested in this path, please visit our CoC Group Certification page. As with path 1, we recommend calling a few to get a feel for who you might prefer to work with. They will also be able to provide information on timeline, process, and costs of certification.

FSC certification also gives you the permission to use the FSC logo and trademarks in promotional materials (such as a website or brochure) about the FSC products that you sell, as long as the product carries the FSC on-product logo.

If your company is registered outside of the United States or the facilities you wish to certify are also located in the US please contact an FSC office in that region. You can view a list of FSC offices worldwide at www.fsc.org by clicking on the top corner of the website for “FSC Worldwide.” You may consider contacting a regional office, especially if your company crosses national boundaries.