FSC & PEFC Chain of Custody Consultancy

EnviroSense provides FSC and PEFC consultancy for all companies in the supply chain and can ensure your company has the systems in place to meet the specific standard requirements of FSC and PEFC.

Chain of custody is the information trail about the path taken by products from the forest including each stage of processing, transformation, manufacturing and distribution:

Each stage where the product changes legal ownership is a change in custody. Each legal entity taking legal ownership of the product must have certification in order to sell on the product as certified. In Figure 1, FSC is the example.

Chain of custody certification allows a company to sell wood and wood products from certified forests with the applicable forestry label.  Certification proves there has been chain of custody of the product and the wood originates from responsibly managed forests.

For a company to be FSC or PEFC certified, it must be audited to verified to meet the applicable FSC or PEFC standards. On doing so the company is awarded FSC, PEFC, or both certificates depending on what standards it has applied for and audited to. The certificate and FSC and PEFC licence agreements enable the company to market, promote and sell their products as FSC or PEFC certified. Without the FSC or PEFC certification, or if a retailer that is at the end of the chain with a FSC or PEFC licence agreement, the products should not be market, promoted, claimed or sold as FSC or PEFC. FSC and PEFC have taken the precaution of registering trademarks and intellectual property of the use of ‘FSC’ and ‘PEFC’ in connection with promotion, advertising and sales of products. The FSC and PEFC consultancy services offered by EnviroSense are not affiliated with FSC or PEFC and that limitation stated enables EnviroSense to use the registered trademarks.


The Fundamental Requirement of FSC and PEFC

The basic aim to prevent the mixing of FSC or PEFC wood with uncontrolled sources but unfortunately this is amongst a myriad of complicated FSC and PEFC requirements.

The FSC and PEFC chain of custody standards detail what a company must comply with in order to show they have documentation and procedures to prevent the mixing of FSC and PEFC wood, and other requirements including accounting for material, verifying suppliers and supplied material, managing production of certified material, and sales, invoicing, and labelling of certified material. EnviroSense’s FSC and PEFC consultancy services will take you company right through the process to certificate issue and ongoing support.

Do I need FSC or PEFC Chain of Custody Certification?

This will be yes, if:
• Your company is in a supply chain with customers that require FSC or PEFC certified timber or wood products
• Your company would like to sell FSC or PEFC certified timber or wood products to your customers using these registered trademarks
• Your company would like to show and publicly claim that your products are the result of responsible forestry and management.

If you are still uncertain about what your certification requirements are, please contact us to get more information or see the resources below.

EnviroSense’s FSC and PEFC Consultancy Services Standard Support Offer (1-2 days)

We make the process efficient, cost effective and offer a unique service.


Initial Consultation Without Obligation

• The purpose of this is to identify the complexity of your operation and potential ways to meet the FSC or PEFC system requirements. Bear in mind, EnviroSense has provided consultancy for FSC and PEFC to literally hundreds of companies ranging from biomass traders, sawmills, forest concession owners, joinery companies, timber merchants, wood traders, printers, book publishers, fit-out companies, primary construction companies and many more. Discussing how your company operates over the phone identifies if there are any immediate obstacles.

No Scoping Exercise and Additional Cost Required

• EnviroSense will not need to visit your site to assess your company operations and activities unless you wish to have an introductory meeting. The probability is that we have worked with a company, either in the same market, or operating very similarly as EnviroSense has provided FSC and PEFC consultancy services to literally hundreds of companies. There are only three variations with chain of custody systems: percentage, credit or the transfer system. Understanding which system your company will need to operate does not require a chargeable scoping visit.

Up-Skilling Or Training Within Your Company

In the process of delivery FSC and PEFC consultancy by EnviroSense, your company’s representative that EnviroSense works with will be trained on the basic FSC and PEFC chain of custody requirements. A separate training session can be held with your company personnel involved in the FSC and PEFC chain of custody system as required.

Continued Liaison to the Certification Audit and Option of Additional Audit Support

We do not absolve ourselves with responsibility following delivery of FSC and PEFC consultancy; EnviroSense will maintain contact with your company throughout the process leading to certificate issue.

Ongoing Support And Troubleshooting

EnviroSense’s intention to add value, but in many occasions we are called upon to resolve issues and liaise with client’s customers or their suppliers. Our ongoing support to answer questions, liaise with additional parties and troubleshoot has proved invaluable for many companies.

Our Support Offer Summary:


When a client engages EnviroSense is it to achieve certification, not to commission consultancy support without a result. EnviroSense has 18 years experience in FSC and PEFC consultancy services delivering results.

What is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?

FSC is an abbreviation for the Forest Stewardship Council.  It is an international, non-governmental organisation that is dedicated to promoting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

FSC was founded in 1993 following concerns over deforestation and the need for truthfully and trustworthy timber product labelling. The FSC logo or trademark is sought by many companies to indicate their wood or timber products do not contribute to deforestation and come from responsibly managed forests.  FSC certified forests must conform to very strict forestry practices, principles and criteria that protect the welfare of forestry workers, indigenous peoples living and using the forest, environmental impacts, species and habitats and therefore the forest biodiversity.

FSC Chain of Custody Certification

As mentioned, FSC chain of custody certified products provide assurances that the wood originates from well managed or responsibly managed forests.  The independent verification that each link in the chain, each company that takes ownership of the wood or wood, meets the FSC chain of custody standard provides a level of assurance absent in many other environmental claims. If the company meets the FSC chain of custody standard it is then is awarded a certificate to enable specific products to be sold as FSC certified.  Independent verification provides an important level of assurance that claims made are truthful and not spurious.  Some companies make claims such as “for every tree planted, we plant two”, which actually does not mean anything about the overall sustainability of their forestry practices. FSC certification:
• Prohibits of conversion of natural forests or other habitat around the world;
• Prohibits the use of highly hazardous pesticides around the world;
• Prohibits the cultivation of genetically modified trees;
• Respects the right of indigenous peoples around the world;
• Controls each certified operation at least once a year and if they are found not to comply, the certificate is withdrawn.

All members of a supply chain who take legal custody of the wood must be certified and provide documentation along the way in order to use the logo on the end product and sell the wood product as FSC certified. If they are not FSC certified then they cannot sell and claim the products to be so.
Further basic information:

• FSC on-product labelling or logo’s relate to the physical product not the environmental performance, or similar claims of the organisation;
Only FSC certified companies are authorised to sell FSC products to other companies, use the logo in promotional use, or make claims about the product being FSC certified. The main exemption is retailers selling to directly to the public, such as selling FSC labelled products in stores;
• The independent verification by certification bodies provides assurances that FSC certified companies correctly use the FSC trademark or logo and make accurate claims that products are FSC certified;
• The product, and potentially the batch in some instances, can be traced back through the supply chain to the original responsibly managed forest that is FSC certified.
• The independent verifiers are accredited by FSC, this means they are essentially authorised to conduct FSC assessments following set FSC requirements that they in turn are audited to ensure they conform to those requirements. Only specific companies can conduct the independent verification.

What is Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)?

PEFC is another international non-governmental, not for profit organisation dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management through independent third-party certification. PEFC, unlike FSC, is an umbrella organisation that recognises and endorses credible national forest certification systems and chain of custody systems in limited instances.  An example is that PEFC has endorsed the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).  PEFC has not endorsed all chain of custody standards for the national forestry schemes coming under its umbrella, one example (as of spring 2014) is SFI. The SFI chain of custody standard differs from PEFC requirements and cannot come under PEFC’s umbrella.

PEFC Chain of Custody Certification

PEFC differs from FSC at the forest management level, but the chains of custody are similar.  All parties in the supply chain who take legal custody of the timber or timber products are required to hold PEFC certification in order to sell products as PEFC certified and use the logo or trademarks. The certification includes requirements for traceability and handling of PEFC certified timber.  A product carrying the PEFC label means it has originated from a forest certified by a PEFC endorsed scheme and has been handled by PEFC certified organisations.

The Differences Between FSC and PEFC


How Can EnviroSense Help?
EnviroSense has over 25 years of expertise in the timber industry, 18 with FSC and PEFC consultancy services and personnel within EnviroSense sit-on and contribute to various chain of custody standard work groups. Contact us for impartial, trusted advice regarding of FSC and PEFC.