FSC International – Forests for All Forever

Facts & Figures

195,726,092 ha certified
33,229 CoC certificates
1,507 FM/CoC certificates

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FSC Timber Legality Compliance
Specific steps taken by FSC to ensure compliance with timber legality laws

© FSC GD - Arturo Escobar

FSC’s Principles and Criteria already focus on compliance with existing legislation. But some adaptations to the standards and indicators derived from the Principles and Criteria have been necessary in order to ensure consistency with specific requirements in the laws of the EU, the USA and Australia.

Since 2012, FSC has taken different measures to ensure its system complies with the timber legality laws of the USA, EU and Australia. Central in this exercise is the adoption of advice notes addressing certificate holders and certification bodies. In most cases, these advice notes relate to specific FSC Standards. Below is an overview and links to the specific texts.


Forest management

On 28 February 2013, FSC published Advice Note 20-007-17 on Applicable National and Local Laws and Regulations, in relation to FSC certification. This Advice Note was revised on 10 July 2014. It addresses, in the first place, certification bodies, but is also meant as a reference list for forest managers.

The advice note can be found at:

Controlled wood

On 28 February 2013, FSC also published Advice Notes 40-005-19 and 30-010-01 on Applicable National and Local Laws and Regulations, in relation to FSC’s Standards on Controlled Wood. These advice notes were last revised on 10 July 2014. In addition, Advice Note 40-005-20 was adopted, about the categorization of EU countries as “low risk” for co-products. The Advice Notes are now incorporated in the new FSC Controlled Wood Standard. However, as the FSC Controlled Wood Standard for Forest Management Enterprises is not revised, the specific Advice Note to that Standard remains valid.

For further reference see:

 •  FSC Directive on FSC Controlled Wood, which is followed up by the:
 •  FSC Standard “Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood” of 2015
 •  Advice Note on Applicable National and Local Laws and Regulations for Controlled Wood for Forest Management Enterprises (self-standing)

Chain of custody

Between 1 November 2012 and 10 July 2014, FSC adopted the following changes to the CoC Standard to facilitate compliance with the three legality laws (all published as advice notes). FSC subsequently published its updated Directive on Chain of Custody Certification, containing all these Advice Notes:

  • Advice 40-004-08 (prevention of presence of) Non-conforming products
  • Advice 40-004-09 (accelerated phased out of) Minor components (derogations)
  • Advice 40-004-10 Access to information required by timber legality legislations
  • Advice 40-004-11 (compliance with) Trade and Customs Laws
  • Advice 40-004-12 Pre-consumer reclaimed wood compliance with the EUTR

All these Advice Notes have been incorporated in the new FSC Standard on Chain of Custody.

Please note: these advice notes address specific groups in the FSC supply chains. All certificate holders anywhere in the world are advised to study them to determine if and when they are relevant.

For specific questions

Please contact John Hontelez,
Chief Advocacy Officer,
Mail to: j.hontelez@fsc.org