FSC or PEFC Chain of Custody Certification - how useful is it for due diligence?
December 7, 2017
In October 2015 the Department issued a compliance advice note on using FSC and PEFC chain-of-custody (CoC) certification for the risk assessment phase of due diligence on their imports. The note (which can be found here) clarifies that a product purchased needs to be certified to be regarded as low risk using this method of risk assessment as CoC certification doesn't mean a product is certified.
While this is the case we still find CoC certification very useful for due diligence - even for non-certified product - particularly as CoC certificates can be easily and quickly verified through the FSC or PEFC websites. The website usually provides some good contact information (in English!) about suppliers / manufacturers as well as names and addresses. It can also provide information about wood species that they may used in products purchased by importers. This information can be very useful in clarifying what a supplier is telling you.
An FSC or PEFC CoC certified supplier can also be disassociated from FSC or PEFC if they are found to be using illegally logged wood. This does happen occasionally which is why it is an important question on the timber legality supplier questionnaires we provide to clients.