for a living planet


The GFTN Guide to Legal and Responsible Sourcing

8.2 Controlled Wood Standards

Environmental Status of SuppliesThere is a large overlap between the policy elements and the necessary compliance checks as seen under the sections Source Assessed and Source Verified and the Forest Stewardship Council “Standard for Company Evaluation of FSC Controlled Wood - FSC-STD-40-005 (V2-1) EN”. Organizations that want to explore compliance with this standard in order to achieve chain-of-custody certification to FSC standards should consult the FSC Controlled Wood Standard and related standards ( Subject to confirmation from an accredited certifier, Controlled Wood Standard has a strong likelihood of meeting sources verified (as defined by GFTN). The following is adapted from the FSC standard.

What is Controlled Wood?
The primary objective of FSC Controlled Wood is to avoid mixing wood from ”unwanted” sources with FSC-certified material during the production of FSC Mixed products. FSC Controlled Wood is not the same as FSC-certified wood which has met all the requirements of the FSC Principles and Criteria.

FSC Chain-of-Custody certified companies who are mixing FSC-certified and non-FSC-certified wood in their FSC product groups must demonstrate that the non-FSC-certified wood has been controlled to avoid sources from the five categories listed below:

  • Illegally harvested wood;
  • Wood harvested in violation of traditional or civil rights;
  • Wood harvested from forests in which high conservation values are threatened by management activities;
  • Wood harvested from areas being converted from forests and other wooded ecosystems to plantations or non-forest uses; and
  • Wood from forests in which genetically modified (GM) trees are planted.

FSC Controlled Wood applies to wood based products and also to Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP’s).

The FSC standard for company evaluation of FSC Controlled Wood (FSC-STD-40-005) enables forest product companies to:

  • Avoid sourcing non-FSC-certified wood from environmentally and socially damaging forestry sources for their ‘FSC Mixed’ production; and
  • Communicate business-to-business in sales and shipping documentation about the source of their uncertified wood.

Steps for Controlling Wood Sources

The FSC Standard suggests there are three ways an FSC Chain-of-Custody company can control its non-FSC-certified wood sources:

  1. Purchase wood from forest enterprises that have been verified by an FSC accredited Certification Body to meet the requirements of FSC-STD-30-010 FSC Controlled Wood Standard for forest management enterprises;
  2. Purchase FSC Controlled Wood from suppliers holding a valid FSC Chain of Custody certificate which includes an FSC Controlled Wood registration code; and
  3. Internally verify its wood sources according to the requirements of FSC-STD-40-005 Company evaluation of FSC Controlled Wood.

FSC will phase-out the company-developed Risk Assessments to be replaced by FSC-approved National Risk Assessments for making risk designations. The original phase-out date of company-developed Risk Assessments was 31 December 2012. On 24 September 2012, the FSC Board of Directors approved the request of the chamber-balanced Technical Committee to extend the cut-off date for company Risk Assessments until 31 December 2014. In the meantime, where the company continues to internally verify its wood sources, the company needs to do the following:

  • Determine and list the origin of all incoming wood and fibre that the company wishes to control, to the country and district level.
  • Identify and record documents from suppliers to confirm the wood and fibre origin, to the district level.
  • Check that the information is correct by sampling transport documents and purchase documents.
  • Evaluate and classify each forest district as low or high-risk.
  • As a result of the evaluation, identify the wood source as controlled or uncontrolled.

For all three of these cases, the company needs to have written systems and procedures in place for controlling wood. The certification body and the company will then receive an exclusive FSC Controlled Wood registration code. This is only an option for companies who can trace wood back to its origins.


How the company follows up this evaluation.
The company will need to differentiate between high-risk and low-risk sources, where low-risk sources can be dealt with through a relatively simple approach, while high-risk sources are subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny.

Companies need to do the following:

  • Have a publicly available, written commitment to control specified wood sources to keep out material that is from the five controlled wood categories listed above.
  • Have documented procedures for all elements involved in acquiring controlled wood or controlled fibre for the company.
  • Keep a list of all incoming wood and fibre that the company wishes to control. This list should include species, volume, country and district of origin and the name and address of the supplier.
  • Ensure that all key personnel (employees and contractors) understand their role in controlling incoming shipments of wood and fibre. The company needs to identify, provide and document any necessary training for staff.

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