Technical Updates

Tuesday, 17 January 2017
FSC Publishes Revised Chain of Custody Standards

chain of custody

The FSC Board of Directors has approved revised FSC chain-of-custody standards FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0 and FSC-STD-20-011 V4-0. The revised standards will become effective on 1 April 2017.

The two revised standards are:

FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0 Chain of Custody Certification (applicable to organisations that manufacture and trade FSC certified products)

FSC-STD-20-011 V4-0 Chain of Custody Evaluations (applicable to certification bodies evaluating organisations against FSC-STD-40-004)

What is FSC chain of custody (CoC)certification?

The FSC chain of custody (CoC) is the path taken by products from the forest, or in the case of recycled materials from the moment when the material is reclaimed, to the point where the product is sold with an FSC claim and/or it is finished and FSC labelled. The CoC includes each stage of sourcing, processing, trading,and distribution where progress to the next stage of the supply chain involves a change of product ownership. Any change of ownership in the supply chain of FSC certified products requires the establishment of effective CoC management systems at the level of the respective organisation and their verification by an independent FSC accredited certification body, if the organisation wants to make an FSC claim about their products.

What were the main aims of the revision?

The main purposes of this revision process was to simplify and streamline the chain-of-custody certification. Requirements have been simplified, including the addition of illustrative examples, tables, and graphics to clarify key concepts.

What do the main content changes include?

  • New transaction verification requirements: A new clause has been added requiring businesses to support transaction verification conducted by its certification body and Accreditation Services International (ASI), by providing samples of FSC transaction data as requested by the certification body. Further information on this will be communicated in the first quarter of 2017.
  • What is transaction verification and why is it important?
    Transaction verification is verification by certification bodies and/or Accreditation Services International (ASI) that FSC output claims made by certificate holders are accurate and match with the FSC input claims of their trading partners. Ensuring the accuracy of FSC claims is vital to maintaining the credibility of the FSC system
  • Permitted application of percentage and credit systems at multiple site level, under certain conditions (also called “cross-site methods”): FSC will monitor the implementation of these requirements and re-evaluate them after two years.
  • Refined credit system and product group requirements, including clarifying credit accounting for assembled wood products, and an extension of the credit accounting period from 12 to 24 months.
  • Reduce the threshold for FSC-labelled recycled wood products from 85 per cent post-consumer reclaimed material to 70 per cent post-consumer reclaimed material (same threshold as required for FSC Mix products) The balance (max 30%) for FSC Recycled products must still be pre-consumer reclaimed.
  • A merger of advice notes and standard interpretations is incorporated into the standard.

How will the revised standards affect certificate holders?

All FSC certificate holders are advised to familiarise themselves with the revised CoC standard (FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0) and begin making necessary adjustments in preparation for evaluation against it by 31 March 2018.

Register now to FSC Internationals webinar about the revised CoC standards:

Tue, Feb 14, 2017 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM AEDT English: Register here

All FSC chain-of-custody certificate holders will have been evaluated against the new standards by 31 March 2018. If you have any questions, please contact project coordinator, Lucia Massaroth at l.massaroth at fsc point org.

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