Timber products shall be harvested by methods which conserve existing old-growth forests and minimise any adverse impact of timber plantations. This shall consider issues of:
- Reduction green-house gas generation, which causes global warming; or
- Reduction in the use of non-renewable resources upon which our society depends; or
- Reduction in land, water or air pollution or degradation, which alienate the use of these resources.
Evidence of compliance with this requirement includes a chain of custody certificate from the Forest Stewardship Council.
FSC certification is carried out by FSC accredited certification bodies. FSC itself does not certify forest operations or manufacturers. This maintains FSC's independence between its standards and requirements, and operations seeking certification.
There are two types of FSC certificates available from certification bodies:
Forest Management (FM) Certificate
Forest management certification involves an inspection of the forest management unit by an independent FSC-accredited certification body to check that the forest complies with the internationally-agreed FSC Principles of Responsible Forest Management.
If the forest complies with FSC standards, then the FSC accredited certification body issues a certificate for the operation. Certified forest operations can claim the forest products they produce come from a responsibly managed forest.
Before a certified forest operation can sell their products as FSC certified, they must also obtain chain of custody certification (FM/COC).
Chain of Custody (COC) Certificate
Chain of custody certification provides a guarantee about the production of FSC-certified products. Chain-of-custody is the path taken by raw materials from the forest to the consumer, including all successive stages of processing, transformation, manufacturing and distribution.
From a customer perspective, the FSC label represents a promise that is being made to them. Chain of custody standards are the mechanism FSC has to ensure that 'promise' is delivered.
Operations that have been independently verified for FSC chain of custody certification are eligible to label their products with the FSC logo.