Chain of Custody Standard Revision

At the Forest Stewardship Council’s 2011 General Assembly (GA), the membership made a resounding call to simplify, clarify, and ensure the chain of custody standard is correctly implemented. FSC initiated a process to revise the chain of custody (COC) standard (FSC-STD-40-004), to put into action five of the motions approved at the GA.

Public Consultation: Draft 3
The third draft of the revised Chain of Custody standard (FSC-STD-40-004) is open for public consultation from June 15, 2016, to August 31, 2016.

Watch a webinar about this third draft of the revised standard to learn more. The webinar will provide an overview of the revision process, the proposed changes in the third draft, and instructions on how to comment on the draft.

Main Changes

Transaction Verification
New transaction verification requirements are proposed that would allow certification bodies to verify FSC transactions between certificate holders. It is suggested that certificate holders would go through a risk assessment that will classify them as being part of either high-risk or low-risk supply chains. Those with a high-risk classification will be required to use the FSC Online Claims Platform (OCP), but for the majority of certificate holders, who would be classified as low-risk, the use of the OCP would be optional – although still recommended.

The introduction of transaction verification requirements in the FSC Chain of Custody standard will also result in changes for certification bodies. Therefore, FSC is proposing that four new clauses are added to the FSC Standard for Chain of Custody Evaluations (FSC-STD-20-011 V4-0). These four new clauses are included in the draft Chain of Custody standard so certificate holders and certification bodies can review the proposed transaction verification requirements for both standards at the same time. The clauses from FSC-STD-20-011 are only included in the draft Chain of Custody standard now to assist stakeholders during the consultation and will be removed prior to final approval.

Cross-site Credit and Percentage Accounting
The revision includes the proposal for COC certificate holders to implement cross-site credit accounts and percentage calculations (new). In 2011 and 2012, FSC conducted a pilot project to explore how cross-site credit accounting could be applied by certificate holders. FSC received positive feedback from certificate holders involved in the pilot, and the FSC Board of Directors would now like to seek stakeholder input on the proposal to include cross-site control for both the credit and percentage system in the revised Chain of Custody standard. Visit the FSC International website for more information.

Reduction to labeling threshold for FSC Recycled label
Under the current rules, FSC Recycled products that do not reach the 85% threshold can still be labelled as FSC Mix, if the product has more than 70% of certified content. A reduced labeling threshold of 70% for FSC Recycled wood products would enable more companies that produce products with exclusively reclaimed content to apply the FSC Recycled label on their products and would reduce confusion regarding the gap between 70-84%, where only an FSC Mix label is currently applicable.

Clarification of credit system requirements
To ensure the credit system is applied equitably across the entire FSC system, the membership passed Motion 46 at the 2011 General Assembly which asked FSC to clarify the requirements within the credit system. Therefore, refined credit system requirements have been introduced, including clarifying credit accounting for assembled products, and an extension of the credit period from 12 to 24 months.

A Change in the Classification of Pre-Consumer Reclaimed Paper
The draft standard proposes pre-consumer reclaimed paper to be counted as a creditable input towards the labeling threshold, equal to post-consumer reclaimed paper and FSC-certified materials.

Fewer Documents: Incorporation of advice notes and standard interpretations
In an effort to streamline and reduce the number of documents stakeholders must consider, the revision process has also included a consolidation of advice notes and other standard interpretations.

How to comment

Stakeholder participation and feedback is essential to the revision process, and all stakeholders are encouraged to provide their comments on the revised requirements for both the Chain of Custody Standard and the Standard for Chain of Custody Evaluations.
For this third round of consultation, FSC is using a new web-based consultation platform to help stakeholders with their review of the standard and to collect comments.

Please take note of the following before using the consultation platform:

  • While you can save, pause, and continue your review at any time, you will need to use the same device (computer/tablet) to do so.
  • Once you register for access to the consultation platform, you will receive an email with a link to access the survey. Keep this email and link easily accessible to ensure you can continue working on your comments.
  • Each comment must specify the exact reference to the standard to which the comment relates (e.g. clause number, page, section). Comments submitted without a reference will be discounted by FSC.

Access the consultation platform.


FSC Canada will host a webinar on August 12, 2016 from 11:00am-12:00pm EST. Register Now.
The webinar will include an introduction to the revised standard, a look at the main changes overall and highlight the changes between the second and third round of consultation, and lastly a walkthrough of the new consultation platform.

Thank you for your participation and if you have questions about the revised Chain of Custody Standard, please contact Josh Zangwill

For more information on the revision process, visit the FSC International Website.

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