Technical Updates

Monday, 01 November 2004
FSC International Update

Controlled Wood Standard Explained

Volume Credit and Controlled Wood

[b][/b]As announced in the October issue of News & Views, the FSC International Board of Directors had approved new chain-of-custody rules, which entail four new standards.

The approved standards are:

• FSC-STD-40-004 FSC chain-of-custody for companies supplying and manufacturing FSC-certified products.

• FSC-STD-40-005 FSC standard for non FSC-certified controlled wood.

• FSC-STD-30-010 FSC standard for forest management enterprises for non FSC-certified controlled wood.

• FSC-STD-40-201 FSC on-product label requirements.

A copy of the new standards can be found here. The rules are effective as of October 1st, but certificate holders will still be able to use the old rules during a transition period. Manufacturers currently holding chain-of-custody certificates will be required to comply with the new standards by 1st January 2007. Companies applying for chain-of-custody certification will be required to use the new standards from 1st January 2006. New labels will be phased in during late 2004 and early 2005 and will become mandatory from 1st July 2005.

The most significant parts of the new standards are the incorporation of a volume credit system for chain-of-custody and for controlling non-certified sources of wood and wood fiber.

While the new volume credit system affords certificate holders many advantages over the previously employed threshold system, companies will be able to use either system in the future.

Wood Sourcing Requirements

Wood sourcing requirements describe which materials can be included in FSC-certified products, and requirements for receiving and storing material for FSC-certified products.

Wood used for FSC-certified products must be either:

• FSC Pure

• FSC Mixed

• Post-consumer reclaimed/recycled

• Other reclaimed, or

• Controlled

All other material (such as glass, metal, plastics, non-wood fiber) that comes from outside a forest matrix (such as bagasse or hemp, mineral fillers and chemicals) is not considered.

Non-FSC certified wood could be included in FSC-certified products only if it is reclaimed wood or controlled wood.

Controlled wood is not:

• Wood from forest areas where traditional or civil rights are violated;

• Wood from forests where high conservation values are threatened;

• Wood from genetically modified (GM) trees;

• Illegally harvested wood;

• Wood from natural forests that have been harvested for the purpose of converting the land to plantations or other non-forest use.

Controlled Wood Register

The implementation of the controlled wood standard represents a huge step forward for reducing the impact of the timber and paper industries on healthy, natural forests, on the other hand, it must also retain the integrity of the FSC system while providing an efficient cost effective way for certificate holders to comply with the new rules.

FSC International recognizes this and is in the process of developing a controlled wood register that will provide a web based register for companies to identify quickly and simply forest areas which are considered high risk for uncontrolled sources.

The Role of Stakeholders in the U.S.

FSC-US is committed to following this process and working with FSC International to develop and implement a Controlled Wood Register that allows FSC certification to better serve our certificate holders and the marketplace.

In the coming months FSC-US will be looking to engage stakeholders in a number of ways including briefings on the process, solicitation of comments and in some cases the development of pilot tests for companies incorporating controlled wood into their product stream. If you have any questions, please contact Ned Daly at 202.342.0415