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COC Certification Procedure

COC Certification Procedure

1 stage. Decision

The timber processing or timber selling enterprise (further on referred to as the Client) decides to certify a chain of custody in conformity with FSC requirements and therefore chooses an accredited certification body (further on referred to as the Contractor). to conduct certification. The Client sends a certification application to the Contractor using the template authorized by the Contractor. The Contractor defines the audit costs as well as perspectives of the successful evaluation process, based on the application information about the Client.

Stage 2. Concluding a contract

Having discussed the certification process, including Client’s tracking of the products origin and all successive processing stages, the Contractor makes a commercial quotation to the Client regarding certification costs and a certification procedure. Once the quotation is accepted and all conditions are agreed upon, the Client and the Contractor conclude a certification contract. The contract is not bounded by the certification period.

Stage 3. Preliminary audit

A preliminary chain of custody audit is not mandatory but it allows the Contractor to obtain general overview of the Client’s structure, while the Client may get familiar with the FSC and Contractor’s requirements. If the pre-audit is conducted, it is stipulated by the additional agreement to the certification contract.

The main aim of the pre-audit is to define areas that may require additional work or close attention of the Client before the main audit; the scope of certification is also clarified.

Based on the audit results, a summary report will be provided to the Client including conclusions about the chain of custody conformity with valid FSC requirements.

Stage 4. Management documents’ review

The Client may provide the Contractor with the most important documents prior to the main audit, so that the Contractor could study specifics of the planning and management process in detail. This is necessary for the audit’s enhancement.

Stage 5. Main audit

If the pre-audit has been carried out, then, once all major non-conformities raised are eliminated, the Contractor jointly with the Client schedules the main audit. If the pre-audit has not been carried out, the Contractor agrees upon the timeframe and conducts the main audit only after concluding the contract.

Main attributes of the main audit cover:

  • identification of the manufactured products;
  • products separation (certified and non-certified);
  • documentation system (incl. bookkeeping);
  • training and information about the personnel;
  • appropriate use of the FSC logo.

Critical control points, where certified and non-certified materials can possibly be mixed, are identified at the enterprise.

Based on the audit findings, the Contractor provides a report to the Client; this report stipulates all non-conformities raised against the applicable FSC standards’ requirements.

Stage 6. Certificate issue and registration

Once the Client eliminates major non-conformities and they are closed in the report, the report is forwarded to the Certification Committee which permanently operates under the Contractor. The Certification Committee decides whether the FSC chain of custody certificate can be issued.

The Contractor registers the certificate in the FSC database http://info.fsc.org. If necessary, conditions may be raised to the Client and they shall be eliminated by the set deadline.

Stage 7. Surveillance audits

At least once a year the Contractor will carry surveillance audits of the Client to monitor the implementation of conditions raised by the report. Main attributes of such audits include monitoring how materials’ records are keeping as well as monitoring products input/output and the FSC logo usage. At least 4 (four) surveillance audits shall be conducted during the 5-year certificate’s validity period.

Additional clarifications

The entire certification process is not restricted by deadlines because enterprises’ readiness to certification and time required to eliminate potential non-conformities prior to the certificate issue differ.

The certificate is issued for 5 years whilst the Client undertakes an obligation to conform to FSC and Contractor’s requirements throughout the certificate’s validity period.