I'm trying to use FSC certified wood in my projects but I'm confused by the chain of custody requirements. Help, please!
Penny Bonda -- Interior Design, 3/5/2007 12:00:00 AM
Congratulations! Your commitment to using wood with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal of approval is an important part of green design. Specifying wood products that come from well-managed sources helps prevent the wholesale destruction of the world’s forests. However, the task of locating and validating certified wood isn’t always easy. Let’s take a look at the process.
Forest Management Certification is awarded to forest managers following audits of their operations, but that alone doesn’t guarantee that the end-use products have earned the right to the FSC label. For that you need Chain of Custody Certification (CoC) awarded to the companies that process, manufacture and sell certified wood. Third-party and independent organizations such as SmartWood and Scientific Certification Systems conduct audits that track wood from the certified forest to the finished product using six chain of custody principles. Only those products that receive certification may use the FSC label or logo.
CoC certificates are held by businesses involved in the production or delivery of certified products, not by the end users. Retailers selling packaged products bearing the manufacturers CoC number need not obtain their own certificates. However, fabricators using a packaged product as part of a larger wood assembly cannot label the finished product as certified without obtaining a new CoC. Contractors and subcontractors are considered end users and may rely on their suppliers’ certification.
Designers should use the Forest Certification Resource Center's searchable database to find producers of certified forest products worldwide. Pull-down menus allow filtering by various parameters including product categories, product types, geographic area and wood species. By using the listed companies, specifiers can be certain that the wood in their projects meets the highest level of environmental responsibility.