Knowledge Hub Article
21st October, 2015
by Technical Services
Chain of Custody and Timber Procurement
The procurement of timber and wood based items from well managed sources is now paramount, Chain of Custody (FSC or PEFC) should be high on the agenda of all companies.
If you purchase or sell wood or timber based items you will be increasingly aware of the growing demand for your product to be procured from a proven sustainable resource. Due to Government Procurement Policies, more and more public funded bodies, corporate companies and large retailers, including DIY outlets, are demanding wooden products from certified well-managed forests in their specifications. This means that your company is under pressure to implement a ‘Chain of Custody’.
Chain of Custody is the unbroken path which products take from the forest to the consumer, including all stages of manufacturing, transportation and distribution
Demand for chain of custody certification has grown dramatically in the last three years to the extent that, for many companies, the ability to prove that a timber product has been derived from a well-managed source is now a key factor in the specification of timber and paper products.
There are currently two independently accredited chain of custody programmes operating in the Timber Industry: The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) scheme and the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) scheme. Some other National schemes also exist such as the SFI in America.
Timber supply Chain of Custody certification provides evidence that the certified product originates from certified, well managed forests, and verifies that these products are not mixed with products from uncertified forests at any point in the supply chain, except under strict controls when percentage (%) labelling is being used.
Chain of Custody certification is required whenever a company carries out any material alteration to the timber/product, or whenever they take physical or legal ownership of the timber/product.
It is important to take advice on the implementation of procedures to ensure that the criteria established by the FSC and PEFC are followed. Training courses are essential (either publicly or in-house) to improve awareness amongst staff and to train company representatives on their responsibilities under these schemes.
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