We are governed by our members (representing three chambers) and actively support Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
All FSC-certified forests are managed in line with the same global principles, and our certificate holders and certification bodies are accountable and independently audited.
We consult stakeholders on changes to our standards, have a dispute resolution process and enjoy broad NGO support.
We operate globally, our iconic logo is recognised, and we help governments and organisations to meet agreed sourcing standards.
We are the pioneers of forest certification and we continue to innovate, whether that means certification in new sectors or using more efficient, digital tools.
FSC does not issue certificates itself. Independent certification bodies carry out the forest management and chain of custody assessments that lead to FSC certification. FSC sets the standards for forest management and chain of custody certification and defines the procedures that certification bodies should follow in their certification assessments. Certification bodies are accredited by an independent accreditation body. FSC’s accreditation body is Assurance Services International (ASI).
FSC owns a portfolio of trademarks worldwide. These trademarks form part of the foundation on which the FSC system is built. We're vigilant in protecting our valuable trademarks and take measures to deal with identified violations.
It is essential to limit inaccurate claims in FSC-certified supply chains. This is especially true for high-risk supply chains. Transaction verification is a process of comparing and then verifying all transactions within a specific product type, group or region over a given time period. Certification bodies are notified when transaction verification is necessary. Certificate holders are also informed and must cooperate with their certification body to provide the required data.
Traditional wood anatomy enables scientist to determine genus and family, and even species, depending on the circumstances. Technologies such as isotope, DNA and mass spectrometry can also help determine the origin of specific wood samples. Such testing can often determine the forest from where the wood originated provided samples from that forest are available for comparison. Wood identification technologies are used as part of FSC’s long-term plan to systematically address integrity risks in the supply chains of its certificate holders, to determine species and origin of harvest location(s).
WorldForestID: An innovative approach to wood sample testing. FSC is part of a leading partner in an innovative project, reinventing how wood sample collection and forensic sciences can help us protect our forests worldwide.
FSC regards compliance with legislation at international and national levels regulating timber trade and related matters as an essential foundation on which to build a system of responsible forest management and the sourcing of timber.
In fact, compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and nationally ratified international treaties, conventions and agreements is our first principle of responsible forest management.
All countries with forests have rules to manage ownership and harvest rights, but the level of enforcement of these rules varies across the globe.
For this reason, several governments have, in the last decade, adopted ‘legislation for timber legality’: laws that ban the trading of timber that is harvested illegally. To prevent purchase and sales of timber products connected to illegal harvesting, these governments require companies to apply due diligence.
FSC fully supports this legality legislation, which is currently in place in the U.S.A., the EU, Australia and an increasing number of Asian countries. However, it is worth noting that most legislations do not recognise voluntary certification as automatic evidence of compliance, but as a tool to reduce risk.
FSC has taken measures to ensure its forest management, chain of custody, and controlled wood standards meet the requirements of these legislations. In this way, certification can make compliance a simple process. In the EU and Australia, FSC has improved government officials’ understanding of the value and reliability of FSC certification.
Policy for Association
The Policy for the Association of Organisations with FSC (FSC-POL-01-004) or FSC Policy for Association, an expression of the values shared by organisations associated with FSC, defines the six unacceptable activities which organisations associated with FSC commit to avoid. It protects the reputation of FSC, and all entities associated with it, by acting as a safeguard against organisations involved in these unacceptable activities.
FSC will only allow its association with organisations that are not directly or indirectly involved in the following unacceptable activities:
- Illegal logging or the trade in illegal wood or forest products
- Violation of traditional and human rights in forestry operations
- Destruction of high conservation values in forestry operations
- Significant conversion of forests to plantations or non-forest use
- Introduction of genetically modified organisms in forestry operations
- Violation of any of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Core Conventions
This policy applies to all organisations associated with, or seeking to associate with, FSC. This includes all organisations holding a contractual agreement with FSC, including a license agreement, cooperative agreement and a membership agreement.
The FSC Policy for Association covers an organisation’s activities that do not fall within the scope of its FSC certificate. It states unacceptable activities that organisations associated with FSC must commit to avoid, and defines the consequences of a breach to this policy when such action is warranted.
If anyone connected to FSC is involved in destructive forestry activities, inside or outside certified areas, we take action.
Depending on when the unacceptable activity occurs/occurred, FSC will determine which policy version is used as the point of reference. If the unacceptable activity occurred prior to 2023, version 2-0 of the policy will be applied, whereas if the unacceptable activity occurs in 2023 or beyond, version 3-0 of the Policy for Association will be applied.
Innovation and Credibility of Supply Chains
Part of FSC's vision is a shift in global forest trends – from social and environmental degradation to sustainable use, conservation, restoration and respect for forests and those that depend on them. FSC pioneered forest certification decades ago, and we continue to innovate, whether that means certification in new sectors or using more efficient, digital tools. From forest to point of sale, we leverage over 27 years of experience to constantly innovate and build credibility in supply chains.
No system is perfect, but we take action when a problem is detected or reported. When we receive complaints or appeals from stakeholders, whether it is addressing performance, decisions taken or any other element in the FSC system, we take it seriously. Our team is committed to getting your issue heard by the right people swiftly and thoroughly.
Here are the relevant complaints channel:
Report here (click on the links below)
If you are concerned that an FSC certificate holder is not following our rules, or involved in unacceptable activities
In The Forest Or The Supply Chain
About the content or implementation of FSC standards, or FSC's performance
About our process for certification (e.g. a certification decision or the performance of a certification body)
About a decision made by FSC
About the wood ID
With FSC trademarks (including infringements and misuses)
If within Malaysia, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (please include subject: "FSC Trademark Infringement/Misuse").
If outside of Malaysia, please report it here.