FSC International – Forests for All Forever

Facts & Figures

199,243,500 ha certified
32,858 CoC certificates
1,506 FM/CoC certificates

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Assessing risk for controlled wood categories


FSC risk assessments are used to determine the risk of an organization obtaining material from unacceptable wood sources when sourcing controlled wood.

For companies with, or seeking, chain of custody certification that need to source controlled wood from non-FSC-certified suppliers, risk assessments must be used.

Risk assessments are developed in coordination with national stakeholders, and must be approved by the FSC Policy Standards Unit before they become mandatory. Once approved, organizations are able to determine the risk involved in sourcing controlled wood in relevant areas.

National risk assessments

To ensure that risk assessments can be applied locally, taking into consideration countries’ specific social and geographical settings, working groups appointed at the national level are in the process of developing national risk assessments (NRAs). These are created following common normative procedures, and are mandatory for companies seeking certification under FSC-STD-40-005 Requirements For Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood; replacing assessments developed by companies.


Following currently available national risk assessments, forest areas – across five categories – are designated as either ‘low risk’ or ‘unspecified risk’. In areas of ‘low risk’, organizations can more easily source controlled wood. In areas of ‘unspecified risk’, organizations must conduct a field verification to confirm it is ‘low risk’ before material can be sourced.

Under the revised system, forest areas will be designated as either ‘low risk’ or ‘specified risk’. In areas of ‘low risk’, organizations may source controlled wood, as is currently the case. In areas of ‘specified risk’ the NRA will describe the risks of sourcing unacceptable material. To source controlled wood in these areas, organizations must implement a set of ‘control measures’ designed to mitigate the specific risks present and verify that they are effective.

Centralized national risk assessments

While we develop NRAs, we have created the centralized national risk assessments (CNRA) to bridge the gap between the current and revised risk assessment procedures. Similar to the NRAs, the CNRA is overseen by the FSC Policy Standards Unit, in cooperation with the national stakeholders. The assessment is outsourced to external experts with specific expertise in the relevant controlled wood category. The assessments made during the CNRA include public consultations, which occur before they are approved.

To view the current timetable for CNRA and NRA development, click here.

The timetable includes information on engagement in the process at the national level, the (planned) start and completion dates of the assessment for each CW category, and whether a consultant is needed to conduct a particular assessment.