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FSC Standards Interpretations


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

FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2


Question

A supplier may use a third party to produce part of their client’s product even though the client is not aware of this arrangement. For example, Printer A may request Printer B to produce glossy covers for a magazine, even though the client X is unaware of Printer B.
What are the requirements for the agreement of this arrangement when the client requests their own FSC trademark license code to be applied to the product and it will be applied by a supplier they are not aware of?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 4.5
Published Friday, 11. April 2014
Answer

When two Certificate Holders enter into an agreement where the supplier agrees to label the product with the client’s FSC trademark license code, but the labels are to be applied by an FSC certified third party whom the supplier wishes to remain anonymous from the client, the following conditions shall be met:
i) The agreement shall designate the supplier’s certification body as responsible for approval of product labels and ensuring that the buyer’s code is only used on products which are supplied to that buyer, and 
ii) The third party must keep data relating to the use of the buyer’s labels separately or easily available for the certification body’s review.


Question

A Certificate Holder has certification for chain of custody with controlled wood included in their certificate scope. According to FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2 clause 1.4 it is not allowed to use FSC trademarks to promote FSC Controlled Wood. Is it allowed to publish the certificate document issued by the certification body on the website when the controlled wood scope is mentioned on it?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 1.4
Published Friday, 11. April 2014
Answer

The certificate document with controlled wood in the scope may be published online or displayed on a wall in public.


Question

Is the registration or trademark symbol required when initials “FSC” are used for claims on invoices as required by FSC-STD-40-004 V2-1?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-20-011 V1-1
Requirement(s) 1.15
Published Friday, 11. April 2014
Answer

The registration symbol is not required for making FSC claims or for displaying the FSC certificate code on invoices or delivery documents as defined in FSC-STD-40-004 V2-1 clause 6.1.1. The registration symbol is required for any other use of initials “FSC” on documents.  


Question

Can an additional statement related to FSC be added within the clear space surrounding the label (exclusion zone)?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 10.13
Published Thursday, 17. October 2013
Answer

An additional statement clarifying which component of a product is FSC certified may be added within the exclusion zone.


Question

Is an exception for the omission of the use of trademark registration symbol in promotional texts related to FSC on invoice templates, delivery notes and similar documents possible if the software that an organization uses to produce these documents does not support trademark registration symbols in texts?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 1.15, 7.5, Annex 1
Published Thursday, 17. October 2013
Answer

NOTE: The use of trademark registration symbol is not required for FSC claims nor for the disclaimer/ statement specified in requirement 7.5 of FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2.

The omission of the use of trademark registration symbol in promotional texts related to FSC on invoice templates, delivery notes and similar documents is possible if the software used to produce these documents does not support trademark registration symbols. This exception only applies to the use of the trademark registration symbol for the initials “FSC” and the name “Forest Stewardship Council”.


Question

Which trademark symbol should be used when creating on product labels, promotional panels or in any other use for Russian and CIS markets?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 1.15, Annex 1
Published Wednesday, 29. May 2013
Answer

The symbol ® or ™ may not be used for unregistered trademarks in Russia and the following CIS countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

Therefore, no symbol may be used next to the initials “FSC” when creating on-product labels, promotional panels or in any other use for Russia, until the initials “FSC” are successfully registered. The symbol ® shall continue to be used for the FSC logo (checkmark-and-tree) and the name “Forest Stewardship Council”.

No symbol may be used next to the FSC logo, the initials “FSC” and the name “Forest Stewardship Council” when creating on-product labels, promotional panels or in any other use for the aforementioned CIS countries, until the trademarks are registered.


Question

Can the FSC initials be used vertically as required in the traditional way of writing in Asian nations? If so, should the registration status symbol go on the top right corner (alongside F), or bottom right corner (alongside C)?

F
S
C

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 1.15
Published Wednesday, 27. June 2012
Answer

Yes, it is possible to use the FSC initials vertically when used in the traditional way of writing for asian nations. The registration status symbol may be used in superscript font in both, the top right corner (alongside F), or bottom right corner (alongside C) as preferred.


Question

Is it allowed to use the FSC trademarks on business cards?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 7.4
Published Wednesday, 07. March 2012
Answer

No, is not allowed as promotional use of the logo is prohibited. In business cards it is not possible to specify which parts of the operations of an organization the certification refers to.

What is allowed is, when using FSC certified paper, to have the FSC certified printer to put the mini label at minimum size on the business cards.


Question

Is it possible to display the FSC label inside packaging?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) Clause 2.3
Published Thursday, 16. February 2012
Answer

No, the only exemption is when there are legal requirements for the packaging that make the placement of the FSC label on the outside impossible (e.g. pharmaceutical industry).


Question

When a printed publication is FSC labeled, is it allowed to print calculations on savings on environmental resources based on the choice of paper?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) Clause 1.6
Published Tuesday, 07. February 2012
Answer

The calculations may be printed provided the following conditions to reduce the risk of confusion are met:
a.) There shall be no reference to FSC within these calculations
b.) A reference to the party responsible for the calculation shall be provided
c.) Calculations may not be placed in a way which implies connection to FSC. If it is not possible to place the calculations anywhere but close to FSC label (exclusion zone shall be always respected), there shall be a disclaimer: "FSC is not responsible for any calculations on saving resources by choosing this paper."


Question

When a product is FSC labeled can it carry marks of other forest certification schemes?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 2.6, 2.6.1
Published Tuesday, 31. January 2012
Answer

No, the product may not carry marks of other forest certification schemes. It would not be allowed to double label a product for example.

However in FSC labeled publications such as magazines or printed advertising material the marks of other certification schemes may be used for product promotion or educational purposes as long as there are no claims about the paper of the publication being certified against the other certification scheme.


Question

If a product is so small that even the mini label can’t be used, what should I do?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 3.3, 3.3.1
Published Tuesday, 08. November 2011
Answer

An image of the product including the proposal for incorporating the FSC label should be submitted to the responsible CB. The CB will then raise this issue with FSC to find a solution.


Question

When is the mini label permitted?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 3.3, 3.3.1
Published Tuesday, 08. November 2011
Answer

1. The mini label may always be used in the following cases:

a.) Paper size A5 or smaller
b.) Packaging 500ml volume or less

2. As for paper size bigger than A5, the standard label should be used when possible. This means when there is sufficient clear unprinted space available for the standard label, the standard label should be used. When there is not, the mini label may be used.
NOTE: the area intended for writing or printing on letter templates or postcards is not considered as clear unprinted space.

3. Certification bodies (CBs) may approve the use of the mini label without checking with FSC on grounds of space restrictions.

4. The following criteria are provided for CBs to use in judging cases where the mini label is requested to be used on paper size bigger than A5:

a) Check if the printed piece is fully covered with texts, info, and graphics, and then determine the area where the label is to be placed on the piece
b) Check if there is printable space available for the standard label in that area without requiring a redesign
c) If yes, the standard label shall be used
d) If not, the mini label can be used


Question

Can the mini label in a bigger format without standard label text be used on a wine cork even if there is enough space to include the standard label?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 3.3, 3.3.1
Published Tuesday, 08. November 2011
Answer

Yes, use of the mini label in a bigger format instead of the standard label on a wine cork is possible, when it is technically difficult to produce legible standard label text on the rough surface of the wine cork.


Question

Can the FSC mini label be used on paper bigger than A5 when the organization's own mark is smaller than the FSC standard label?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 3.3, 3.3.1
Published Tuesday, 08. November 2011
Answer

Yes, in cases where the organization's or its sponsor's own mark is smaller than the FSC standard label and therefore the organization would like to use the FSC mini label instead, the FSC mini label can be used exceptionally regardless of paper size or of sufficient space available for the standard label.

Prior approval for the exceptional use of the mini label from Certification Bodies (CBs) is required.

CBs may approve this exceptional use of the mini label at their own discretion without further checking with FSC on the ground of size reasons mentioned above.


Question

Shall the organization submit artwork of all new reproductions of FSC trademarks to the certification body for approval?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 1.16
Published Tuesday, 01. March 2011
Answer

Provided that the organization establishes a good record of correct trademark use, it will not be necessary to re-submit labels for the same product type or with the same placement on the product, or for repeated use of promotional artwork.

This clause means in general all new reproductions of FSC trademarks require approval from certification bodies. However, in the following cases, it is not necessary for certificate holders to re-submit artwork for approval:

1. A generic format to be approved by certification bodies for certificate holders to use it on a range of products when the following conditions are met, certification body may opt to approve a generic format to be used on a range of products:

The organization must have established a good track record of correct trademark use
The label is used on the same product type without any alterations , i.e. any changes to the label, such as label product type, label color…etc require a further approval
The label remains the same and the exclusion zone around it is respected
Different designs won’t affect the area where the FSC label is placed

2. Repeated use of promotional artwork


Question

Is it possible to add ‘’contents’’ to the list of words for product types?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 10.11
Published Tuesday, 01. March 2011
Answer

No, it is not allowed to use “contents” as a product type.

The product types are very general in nature, more of general material types actually, such as paper, wood, board, rubber etc. For the sake of clarity there are few real product names included, such as packaging. The intention is to keep the list at a very general level so it is not allowed to use “contents” as a product type.


Question

Is it allowed to use a bilingual mini label?

Normative Reference FSC-STD-50-001 V1-2
Requirement(s) 10.15
Published Tuesday, 01. March 2011
Answer

Normally it’s not allowed as the mini label can include only one language due to small size of the mini label. Only when the following conditions are met, CBs may approve use of a bilingual mini label:

Governmental or legal requirements due to a multitude languages used in a country
The product that meets the requirements of using a mini label such as a swing tag, is distributed in multiple markets that require two major languages to be displayed on the product.