FSC certification ensures that products come from well managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
Forest owners and managers may want to become FSC certified to demonstrate that they are managing their forests responsibly. Along the supply chain, FSC certification can provide benefits such as access to new markets.
The FSC Principles and Criteria (P&C) set out best practices for forest management. In many countries, FSC Regional or National Standards are developed by FSC working groups. Regional and national standards transfer the P&C to the specific conditions and context found in each country or region.
Forest managers or owners who want to achieve FSC Forest Management Certification contract an FSC accredited certification body to carry out an assessment. The certification body checks that the operation complies with all relevant FSC requirements. If it does, they issue a FSC forest management certificate, which is valid for five years and monitored annually to make sure the company continues to meet FSC standards. If the forest owner or manager wishes to sell FSC certified products, they will also need chain of custody certification.
Chain of custody certification applies to manufacturers, processors and traders of FSC certified forest products. It verifies FSC certified forest products along the production chain. At each stage in the chain of processing and transformation, chain of custody certification is needed to confirm that FSC certified wood products are kept separate from uncertified products, or mixed in approved ways.