The FSC system consists of three different certification systems which enables the use of timber from sustainably managed forests.
FSC forest management certification (FM)
The FSC system has adopted 10 principles which serve as criteria for sustainable forest management. If forestry companies act in conformity with these principles, they can choose to have their forestry practices FSC-certified (Forest Management certification, FM). This means an independent certification agency making an inspection of whether these 10 principles are actually met in practice. In this event, the forestry company will receive an FSC certificate from the certification agency. This certificate is valid for a period of five years with an evaluation taking place each year by the certification agency.
FSC chain of custody certification (COC)
Anyone trading or processing timber from an FSC-certified forest with an FSC label and claim, must be in possession of a certified Chain of Custody (COC). This certificate guarantees that no timber from undesirable sources has been mixed during the trading and/or processing of this timber. In this case too, an independent certification agency will make annual inspections to this end in respect of the certificate holder.
FSC controlled wood certification (CW)
When timber is processed, it is sometimes not possible to separate FSC-certified timber from non-certified timber. As part of the FSC custody of chain certification therefore, there are two methods of traceability whereby the mixing of timber with non-certified timber is permitted under certain conditions (the FSC credit and percentage system). Nevertheless, it must be demonstrated that the timber with which it is mixed does not originate from an undesirable source. This FSC controlled wood (CW) must not originate from:
- Illegally harvested wood;
- Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights;
- Wood harvested in forests in which high conservation values are threatened through management activities;
- Wood harvested from forests converted to plantations or other non-forest uses;
- Wood harvested from areas where genetically modified trees are planted.
Traders or processors of timber must satisfy additional requirements for the use of FSC controlled wood in an FSC certified chain of custody. In order to satisfy these requirements, the company is inspected by an independent certification agency every year.