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Technical Updates

Friday, 01 October 2004
FSC Launches New Chain of Custody Standards

New FSC Labels Arrive on Shelves by Year End

On September 14th, the FSC Board of Directors approved new rules governing chain-of-custody (COC) requirements for certificate holders. The approval of this standard is the culmination of three years of technical review, stakeholder consultation and pilot testing.

The changes are designed to address blockages in the current system, such as constraints with the minimum percentage requirement, and previous labeling requirements. They also provide clear guidance on identifying sources of wood and keeping controlled (‘controversial’) sources out of the FSC supply stream.

As many of you know, FSC-US stakeholders were engaged heavily in this process and provided significant input that helped improve the final standards. While there is still a need to refine the implementation of the controlled wood standard, these standards will go along way to improve the integrity of the FSC system and the availability of FSC certified wood.

To learn more about the specifics of the standards please consult your certifier or go

The main changes are:

  • A new simpler standard for manufacturers seeking FSC COC certification. 
  • A new ‘FSC credit’ system that allows manufacturers and processors to label as FSC a proportion of their product that corresponds to the proportion of FSC raw material used in that product line. Certificate holders have the option to use either this system or the existing minimum percentage system. 
  • Improved specifications for controlling uncertified wood mixed with FSC wood in FSC product lines. This includes controlling illegal and other controversial sources of wood. 
  • An opportunity to use an FSC label on products containing up to 100% post consumer recycled material. 
  • Clearer, more distinctive labels that communicate to customers the different types of products available with an FSC label.
  • 100% FSC for products that originate entirely from an FSC certified forest. 
  • FSC Recycled for products with 100% post consumer recycled material. 
  • FSC Mixed for products with material from FSC certified forests, company controlled sources and/or post consumer recycled material.

Companies wanting to move to the new standards may do so from October 1, 2004, subject to consultation with your certification body. Manufacturers currently holding COC certificates will be required to comply with the new standards by January 1, 2007. New companies applying for chain of custody certification will be required to use the new standards from January 1, 2006. The new labels will be phased in during late 2004 and early 2005 and will become mandatory from July 1, 2005.