ASSURANCE FOR CONSUMERS AND A GATEWAY TO NEW MARKETS
Consumers are increasingly concerned with choosing products that are responsibly sourced and made. FSC chain of custody certification allows companies to use the FSC label, giving consumers assurance about the origin of the products they buy.
If you’re a business hoping to enter markets that are particularly environmentally and socially aware, chain of custody certification is an essential credential. Achieving certification is also a great way to demonstrate compliance with public and private sector procurement policies – Green Building Council and Living Building Challenge – that specify environmentally responsible materials.
TYPES OF CHAIN OF CUSTODY CERTIFICATION
There are two types of certification to choose from, depending on the scale and type of your operation:
- For organizations processing or selling forest products: certification of single businesses or facilities, or of multiple sites under multi-site or group certification (this could be for large companies that operate multiple sites, or smaller enterprises that choose to group together to achieve collective certification).
- For projects: one-off certification issued to individual objects or buildings that are totally or partially made using FSC-certified components.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTES TO CERTIFYING FOREST PRODUCTS
Depending on the levels of FSC-certified wood in your products, and the scope of your certificate, you may need to combine your chain of custody standard with additional standards – essentially, extra requirements you’ll need to meet.
The FSC 100% label signifies that a product is made entirely from FSC-certified forest material.
The FSC Mix label lets people know that certified wood has been supplemented with non-certified materials. However, this non-certified material needs to adhere to a certain standard: either the reclaimed wood standard or the controlled wood standard.
By meeting this standard, a forest management company achieves controlled wood certification. This means that the material sourced has not been harvested illegally, in violation of traditional or civil rights, or in a way that threatens high conservation value (HCV) areas. Controlled wood must also not be taken from forests being converted to plantation or non-forest use, or from forests containing genetically modified trees.
The FSC Recycled label denotes that a product is made entirely from recycled or reclaimed material, subject to requirements concerning the purchasing, verification, and classification of the reclaimed material. At least 85 per cent of reclaimed material must be verified as having been recycled following consumer use to qualify for the FSC Recycled label.
AUSTRALIAN ILLEGAL LOGGING LEGISLATION
If you intend to import a regulated timber product, you need to manage the risk that your product may include illegally logged timber.
This process is called ‘due diligence’. Due diligence is a documented risk assessment of your regulated timber product.
You must complete your due diligence before you import a regulated timber product. If you fail to do this, you could face significant financial penalties.
The Australian government sets out requirements for due diligence for timber importers and processors, read their guide.
Due diligence process for FSC certificate holders
Due to the rigorousness of FSC's forest management and chain of custody standards Australia’s illegal logging laws provide for a simplified due diligence process for FSC certificate holders. This is detailed in step 3A of the government's Due Diligence Guide.
FSC certificate holders can carry out their risk assessment using the "Timber Legality Framework" method, which requires that the importer or processor do the following:
1. Confirm that the supplier and product are certified, and
2. Gather the information required in the due diligence process (eg. species, region of harvest, supplier details).
If the timber is FSC certified, and you are not aware of any other information suggesting that the product contains illegal timber, you can assess the risk as low and proceed with importing.
Find out more about Australia's illegal logging laws
Make sure you are doing the right thing, read the step by step requirements for timber importers
CoC Certification Standard FSC-STD-40-004 (V3-0)
Frequent Asked Questions FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0 (27Mar17)
Crosswalk comparing V3-0 & V2-1 FSC-STD-40-004