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FSC Standards Interpretations

This section gives you access to current standard interpretations separated by topics and related normative documents.

FSC-POL-40-002 Group COC


How should a CB deal with the following scenario? A company (group member) surpassed the defined threshold and the transitional membership phase of 2 years is coming to an end. In the meantime, the National Office applied for nationally adapted eligibility.

Normative Reference FSC-PRO-40-002a
Requirement(s) Clause 2.3
Published Wednesday, 23. November 2011

In this scenario, based on FSC-PRO-40-002a, FSC would exceptionally allow an extension of the transitional membership phase until FSC has taken a formal decision on the proposal for nationally adapted eligibility criteria submitted by the National Office.


When are ‘on-site’ audits required during internal audits of members, conducted by the group entity? In the case of no sales, does the internal audit have to be on-site, or a desk audit?

Normative Reference FSC-POL-40-002, FSC-STD-20-011 V1-1
Requirement(s) FSC-POL-40-002, Clause 2.1.6, 3.19.1, FSC-STD-20-011,Clause 8.1.2, 9.3, 9.4
Published Wednesday, 17. August 2011

On-site audits are required for the internal audit of all group members, except the ones that have no physical possession of products, where a desk audit (remote audit) is acceptable. For group members that signed a declaration stating that no material has been sold as FSC-certified; sourced as controlled material; or sold as FSC Controlled Wood since the last audit, the group entity may opt to waive the internal audit. The group entity shall not waive more than two consecutive internal audits.


Clause 7.5.1 establishes that the annual growth of group certificates shall not exceed a 100% increase of the number of group members compared to the number at the time of the main evaluation. The following clarifications are requested:

1. What is the FSC definition of “main evaluation” in the context of this clause?
2. Is there a sampling rate for the CB evaluations of the new sites?
3. How does the 5th year “reassessment” fit into the requirements of Clause 7.5.1?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-20-011 V1-1
Requirement(s) Clauses 7.5.1, 15.1 and 20.2.2
Published Monday, 18. April 2011

1: The term ‘main evaluation’ refers to the initial audit of an applicant for certification; commonly referred to as “main audit” or “main assessment”. The term ‘main evaluation’ does not apply for certification reassessments.

2: If the certificate holder wishes to exceed the annual growth limit established in Clause 7.5.1 of FSC-STD-20-011 V1-1, an additional full evaluation of the central office and the new sites added to the group shall be conducted by the certification body. For example: a group that starts with 10 members may add 10 more members that year. If the growth of the group size exceeds this limit defined in Clause 7.5.2 (e.g. the group wants to include 15 new members), the central office and the new members that exceed the growth limit shall be assessed by the Certification Body using the sampling rate defined for main assessments (y=√x). In this example, it means that the central office and 5 members should be audited using the sampling rate of y=√x and the existing members don’t need to be audited by the certification body. During annual audits, new members that have been added to the group since the previous audit/evaluation shall be sampled by the certification body using the sampling rate of y=√x and the existing group members shall be audited according to the normal sampling rate defined for annual audits (y=0.6√x).

3: In the certification reassessment, the sampling rate of y=0.8√x applies for all group members, existing ones and new ones.