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FSC species information in product schedules

FSC product schedule species information

On 11th March, FSC released an advice note that is going to affect a high proportion of Chain of Custody certificate holders. Until now, full information (scientific name) was only needed when, in the words of the COC standard, it was "used to designate product characteristics" – for example, oak flooring or cedar pencils. For a vast range of products, such as printed materials, paper, card, MDF etc, that haven’t needed species information to date, this must now be provided. In many cases, this will mean requesting the information from suppliers, and they in turn, may need to pass the request up the supply chain. There is one year from the date of issue to comply, which takes us up until 11th March 2021. Certificate holders will also need to be able to confirm that the species they buy are listed on the FSC database in the schedules of their suppliers.

Why is this being done? There are three main reasons:

  • Firstly, many parts of the world now have laws to ensure timber is legal, so information on what the species is, and where it’s from, is key to this
  • Secondly, FSC is increasingly carrying out supply chain checks – called Transaction Verifications – and this too relies on accurate information
  • Finally, the current requirement of the FSC standard is rather confusing

There are only two exceptions: one is for recycled material, and the other is when paper forms a component of an assembled product, such as a laminate board.

We’re not asking for this information to be sent to us (Soil Association Certification Forestry) - it will be collected at your next audit.

The full advice note (ADVICE-40-004-19) is available from the FSC Document Centre.