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Chain-of-custody

Chain-of-custody

Chain of Custody is the path of forest products from forest to final consumer.

FSC Chain of Custody (COC) Certificate is essential for the companies that have an intention to distribute their forest products of any level of processing and manufacturing, starting from round wood material and lumber to paper, furniture, houses and printing materials (books, magazines).

If the company has a right of possession on FSC-certified products (at any stage of chain) FSC COC Certificate is needed. It relates to traders, processors, manufactures and publishing houses. It doesn’t concern contractors and transport companies.

Companies acting as separate legal entity but united with formal and informal links can apply for a Group Certificate of COC. Herewith FSC has limits for such group enterprises (group members):

  • not more than 15 employees (including part-time and seasonal employed), or;
  • not more than 25 employees and not more than 1 000 000 USD annual turnover (total annual income from goods and services);
  • all members of the group are located in the same country as a group manager.

The head of the group is appointed for the whole group of enterprises and it has additional commitments in terms of governing the group activity.

Multi-site scheme of certification can be applied in case of number of production sites are acting in frame of one legal entity. According to this scheme, central office is appointed that has functions of governing the sites activity.

Group or multi-site certification is applicable for the companies with complex structure or for small enterprises united with common commercial or other interests (unions or associations) and can significantly reduce costs of certification process. This reduction of cost is formed by decreasing number of days for audit – Certification Body (CB, in this case FOREST CERTIFICATION) according to the representation of sampling is choosing only few sites for audit instead of total number of sites.

Main standard for evaluation FSC COC is FSC-STD-40-004. In case of enlargement the scope of certification other standards can be applied (FSC Controlled Wood, FSC Recycled etc.).

FSC doesn’t allow physical mix of materials that contain FSC claim with non-certified or non-controlled material through this chain. On chance of such mixture the company is deprived the right to sell its products as FSC-certified and put FSC label on it.

In order to claim non-certified material with “FSC controlled wood”, the company needs to implement the procedure of control of non-certified suppliers of controlled wood and enlarge the scope of Certificate FSC COC. It is possible to do by holding an audit of controlled wood in line with 40-005 Standard.

The definition of FSC Controlled Wood means wood identified by the company that has nothing of the five following statements:

  • Illegally harvested wood;
  • Harvested wood with disturbance of indigenous people livelihood and civil rights;
  • Harvested wood in high conservational values forests;
  • Harvested wood on plantations or non-forest land;
  • Harvested wood from genetically modified forests.

If the company involves contractors in its wood manufacturing process (harvesting, bucking, sorting, processing, packaging etc.), auditor estimates its activity and defines risk level based on quantity of contactors, number of operations with certified material, labeling and so on.

COC Certificate can be issued to the company-applicant prior to the moment of its actual physical possession of FSC-certified material in case of enough evidence of chain of custody functioning received during audit.

In this case FOREST CERTIFICATION (FC) asks company-applicant for FSC COC Certificate notify FC as soon as purchases of FSC-certified material or production of FSC-certified products start.

FC holds an additional or first surveillance audit during 3 months after this notification if there were no conditions related to critical control points identified during main audit.

How much FSC COC Certification does cost?

Certification of Chain of Custody costs less than forest management certification. It connects to less working hours spent by FC auditor on COC audit.

Price varies and starts from 80 000 rubles. For more precise estimation we offer you to fill in a Questionnaire and send it back to us.

In general company needs up to few weeks in order to prepare for FSC COC audit. If there are no major conditions during main audit (no pre-audit is needed for COC Certification), FC is issuing FSC Certificate during 1-2 weeks after audit.