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Newsletter Stories

Friday, 18 March 2016
Revised Standard for Controlled Wood

 (© Lori Knosalla)© Lori Knosalla

March 18, 2016

*Updated on April 11, 2016*

After four years in development and two global public consultations, FSC International published its revised requirements for sourcing Controlled Wood (FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0) in December 2015. This new standard becomes effective on July 1, 2016, with an official transition period continuing through June 30, 2017. Chain of custody certificate holders who trade in Controlled Wood or produce FSC Mix products must meet the requirements of the new standard by the end of the transition period.

The revised standard introduces a due diligence approach for sourcing Controlled Wood. Organizations will be required to ensure that the material they use is controlled by: 1) implementing a due diligence system for obtaining information on their supplies, 2) conducting a risk assessment (using an FSC risk assessment procedure), and 3) mitigating the risk of sourcing unacceptable material (related to its origin and/or commingled supply). Other changes in the revised standard include new requirements for:

  • Using FSC risk assessments, and how organizations may conduct risk assessments where no FSC risk assessment exists
  • Risk mitigation, which allow organizations greater flexibility in mitigating specified risks of sourcing unacceptable material at low volumes
  • Information on the origin of material
  • Transparency via public reporting, as well as treatment of stakeholder feedback and complaints
  • Mitigating risk related to the rights of Indigenous Peoples and traditional peoples, and threats to intact forest landscapes

A major component of the new standard is a reliance on National Risk Assessments (NRAs) and Centralized National Risk Assessments (CNRAs) which address (by country) the level of risk of unacceptable forestry practices, including illegal logging, violation of human rights, conversion, threats to high conservation values, and commercial production of genetically modified species. NRAs are being developed by many FSC Network Partners, while CNRAs are being developed by independent consultants engaged by FSC International. Both NRAs and CNRAs also detail recommended control measures to manage supply from areas of specified risk.

The United States and Canada are two of the priority countries FSC International has designated for the accelerated development of NRAs. Anticipating approval of FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0, FSC US has been working on an NRA for the contiguous United States since 2013. During the first quarter of 2015, FSC US conducted a public consultation of first draft of an NRA. Since this consultation, however, FSC US’ suspended its NRA development process in order to ensure alignment with FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0. Now with the approval and publication of the new standard, FSC US is returning to complete a revised draft for a second public consultation. This second consultation is expected to begin late in the second quarter of 2016.

To ease the transition for certificate holders, FSC US is committed to completing and gaining approval of its National Risk Assessment by the end of 2016. Chain of custody certificate holders implementing an FSC Controlled Wood verification system whose annual CoC audit is scheduled to take place after July 1, 2016 have their choice of being assessed against version 2-1 of FSC-STD-40-0005 (the version certificate holders are currently certified to) or being assessed against the new version 3 of the CW standard (which would require development of a Simplified Risk Assessment). Those companies who choose to remain on version 2-1 (in anticipation of an approved US National Risk Assessment by December 2016) would then be required to have an extraordinary audit of their due diligence system to ensure conformance with FSC-STD-40-005 V3 before the end of the transition period which is June 30, 2017. This choice would result in two audits within a 12 month period. This ensures that all FSC certificate holders are held to the same deadline for updating their systems, regardless of their regular audit schedules.

For certificate holders requiring a due diligence system for uncertified wood and fiber from Canada, where an NRA process has been approved and is expected to be completed by December 2017, a Simplified Risk Assessment for Canadian sources will be required by June 30, 2017.

FSC International has held a series of training webinars on the revised standard FSC-STD-40-005 V3-0. Future webinars in the series will be held in April and May. Please watch the FSC International Newsletter over the coming weeks for registration information. Details about the training being provided by FSC can be downloaded here.

To further aid in the understanding of the requirements of the new standard as well as the options for transition, FSC US will conduct several webinars and in person meetings with certificate holders during the consultation period of the second draft of the US National Risk Assessment later this spring. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jenny Wood, Policy and Standards Manager, at or 612-353-4511.