Environment and Energy

Forest Stewardship Council® Chain of Custody (FSC® CoC)

Motivation and benefits

Consumers are becoming more and more critical. They increasingly desire products that are manufactured according to ecological and social criteria. By indicating the FSC® Logo, companies ensure wood originates from sustainably cultivated forests. Certified companies can place the FSC® Logo directly on the product and can use this logo for advertising purposes. As the number of critical consumers is growing and FSC® gained an increasing degree of recognition, FSC® provides companies with a simple management tool, which enables them to work sustainably and communicate their actions in a credible way.

In 1993, the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) was established as a worldwide independent and non-profit organization by environmental bodies, representatives of domestic ethnical groups and companies active in forestry and timber industry. FSC® is a member-based organization that is open to any individual and legal entities.

FSC® COVID-19 Policy Responses (document)

Surveillance Audits

A. Surveillance audits may be postponed for a period not exceeding six (6) months beyond the maximum audit cycle of 15 months (in the case of CoC audits), but not beyond the end of 2020. FM audits can already flexibly be (re-)scheduled within a calendar year.

B. Surveillance audits may be conducted as desk audits, when based on an assessment of the scale, intensity and risk of the Organization’s activities it is concluded that a desk audit can credibly be conducted.

Examples of the above that would prevent a desk audit include:

  • open major CARs,
  • supply chain integrity issues (e.g. integrity investigations involving the certificate holder /production sector or trading species),
  • subcontracting / outsourcing of certified activities in response to the coronavirus outbreak,
  • ongoing complaints.

Recertification Audit:

If a certificate is due to expire in 2020, it may be extended for up to twelve (12) months beyond its original expiry date by performing a surveillance audit (which may be conducted remotely in line with this derogation). A recertification audit shall then be performed before the maximum 12 month extension expires in order to renew certification

In the desk audit, certification bodies shall utilize information and communication technology (ICT) to evaluate all requirements from the annual audit plan to the extent possible. Audits shall be conducted on the basis of virtual meetings / interviews with relevant people of the certificate holder and stakeholders, relevant documents and records, satellite images  (where possible), and other best available information.

FSC Russia and FSC International end their partnership

Certificates in Ukraine conflict areas suspended


The certification procedure helps to achieve cultivation of forests that is

  • ecologically compatible
  • socially compatible as well as
  • economically sustainable

and to improve the marketing of timber produced in a manner that is ecologically and socially correct. In addition, itaims to support companies active in forestry and timber industry to continually improve their performance.

Target group
  • sawing and plaugh mills
  • wood processing industry
  • building joiners and cabinet makers
  • carpenters
  • timber trade
  • paper industry and trade
  • print offices, publishing companies and bookbindery

FSC® has established ten principles for forest certification (FSC Forest Management FM), which are valid all over the world. Among other things, the following elements are essential:

  • compliance with the laws and FSC® principles
  • conformity to labour laws and health protection
  • respecting the rights of ownership and rights of use and enjoyment
  • endeavours to protect, maintain and preserve the relationship with the local population
  • renouncing clear-cutting
  • principle of regeneration
  • establishing reservations
  • planning and control documentation
  • preserving the protective forests
  • maintaining biodiversity

Certification of the Chain of Custody (FSC® CoC) requires the following:

  • documented control system
  • acknowledgement of receipt of goods
  • separation and/or identification of certified and non-certified received goods
  • safe product labelling
  • identification of certified outgoing goods
  • accounting

Upon successful certification, FSC® CoC Certificates can be granted for five years. Every year a Surveillance Audit will take place. FSC® CoC Certificates are recognized on an internationally.

For more detailed information visit:


Quality Austria - Trainings, Zertifizierungs und Begutachtungs GmbH is accredited for the certification of FSC® Coc by ASI since 19th January 2015 with the accreditation number ASI-ACC-071. More information can be found here. The regulation for FSC® CoC audits can be found in the Download Center.

Advice: in the context of FSC® Quality Austria does not offer any audits or certifications according to the current version FSC-STD-40-005 Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood. Current FSC CoC Standards, Interpretations, Policy etc can be found here.

Other relevant standards

ISO 9001, ISO 14001, EMAS, Sustainability Reports, Austria Quality Seal, Ecolabel

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