Assistance & Sustainability Information


The FSC System

There are two parts to the FSC system: 

1. Forest Management certification, which makes sure that the forest is managed to high standards covering social, environmental and economic issues. 

2. Chain of Custody certification, which traces the wood from those forests through all stages of processing and distribution.

Chain of Custody

FSC has produced standards which:

  • Make sure that FSC wood is accounted for as it passes along the supply chain
  • Make sure that when FSC wood is mixed with other wood, this does not come from undesirable sources
  • Make sure that recycled/reclaimed material is acceptable
  • Enables FSC certified products to be produced or stocked as well as uncertified products
  • Provide a range of labelling options 


The Chain of Custody Standard FSC-STD-40-004

The standard has an introductory section and a list of terms and definitions, followed by four parts:

  1.  Universal requirements
  2.  The three systems for controlling FSC claims: Transfer, percentage and Credit systems
  3.  Labelling
  4.  Supplementary requirements

Universal Requirements

Each organisation takes ownership of the timber, wood product or fibre must have systems to monitor the purchase, handling and sales of FSC material. This is audited by accredited Certification Bodies who make sure that the systems are adequate to maintain the integrity of the FSC label before issuing a Chain of Custody certificate, with a number unique to the organisation.

These are the steps needed to gain Chain of Custody (CoC) certification:

 Suppliers have their own current CoC certification and that this covers the material they are (or will be) selling to you.

  • Set up your CoC Quality Management system
  • Define the Product Groups that will be sold with an FSC label
  • Contact a Certification Body (CB) to arrange an audit.

There are four parts to the CoC Quality Management system that a company needs to set up:

1. Responsibilities: One person must be designated to take charge of the organisation’s compliance with the standard and all relevant staff must be aware of the requirements.

2. Documented Procedures: all the systems must be written up as a manual which can be shown to the CB.

3. Training: The CB will ask for evidence that all staff with responsibility for these areas have had training. Records must be kept.

4. Records: all documents relating to FSC production, purchase and sales, as well as training records and copies of trademark approvals (for labels and promotional purposes) must be kept for at least 5 years. An up to date list of all FSC product groups covered by the scope of the CoC must be maintained.