How to apply for Chain of Custody FSC and PEFC certification
The application process
Certifying your Chain of Custody business with Soil Association Certification ensures a quick and efficient process, with our expert colleagues on hand every step of the way.
We have outlined the step-by-step application process below but please get in touch with our expert certification team if you have any questions using the details below, we're here to help.
1. The certification process
To begin the certification process, contact our expert team using the form or telephone number below.
Following an initial conversation, we will take you through our application form, after which we can provide an estimated timeline for certification and prepare a quote
2. Submit your application
Once you decide to go ahead with us you’ll be introduced to your Certification Officer (CO), your guide and contact from application through to certification.
We’ll send you an evaluation contract and fee schedule to sign, together with an invoice for the certification fees.
You’ll receive an FSC Trademark License Agreement to sign. This means you can use the FSC Trademarks once FSC certified (unless you are certified for Controlled Wood only, which does not permit trademark use).
For PEFC applicants, the PEFC National Governing Body (NGB) will issue a logo-use license directly to you.
Once the signed documents and payment or payment terms have been agreed or received, the certification process can begin.
3. Site visit
You can discuss with your CO whether a pre-assessment site visit would be useful, and how to go about arranging it. The pre-assessment report will provide recommendations for improvements prior to your certification assessment.
We will work with you to define your exact scope and what product groups you will seek certification for. Once the scope is clear will arrange your main certification assessment. One of our auditors will conduct this assessment visit, including an inspection of production units, storage facilities and administration and written documentation according to the relevant COC standards. Key staff will be interviewed.
After the assessment visit the auditor will write a report detailing all the observations made during the visit, listing any identified non-compliances (see 3, below) with the standard(s) and describing anything that needs to be corrected.
4. Certificate awarded
With your new certificate(s), you can now use the FSC and/or PEFC logos as outlined below.
5. Surveillance audits next
During the five year certification period we will carry out four surveillance audits and a reassessment audit prior to the expiry of the certificate. Your CO will discuss this with you.
2. Trademark use
Once certification is achieved, you can use the scheme trademarks (FSC® or PEFC) on your certified products (using on-product labels), and promote your certified products and the company’s certified status using the trademarks in advertising materials, on your website and in social media posts.
Before using the FSC trademarks, approval must be granted. Please see this page for more information. We are moving to an online portal for trademark approvals which will provide an online tool for sharing and recording trademark use.
We will be happy to advise you on the correct use of the trademarks.
3. When things don't go to plan
- Your audit might highlight issues that mean a certificate can only be granted with conditions attached, or in rare instances, not at all. These are categorised as ‘majors’ and ‘minors’, and carry different timescales and actions.
- Ultimately, not complying with the rules about correction to these conditions will mean your certificate is suspended, revoked or in some instances, not issued at all.
- More information is in the application pack, and you can discuss it with you CO.
If you have a complaint about our decision or service, we have a procedure you can follow. If we can’t resolve it directly with you, you can lodge a formal complaint with ASI or PEFC, as appropriate. We’ll give you those details in our application pack. You can view our Appeal and Complaints Resolution Procedure here