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Chain of Custody Standards

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Chain of Custody Standards Certification (COC) | FSC, SFI, PEFC

There are three standards that confirm participation and certification for Chain-of Custody (COC)

They are:

1, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

  1. Social Forestry Initiative (SFI)
  2. Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

Forest Stewardship Council

Forest Stewardship Council is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization established to promote the responsible management of the forests in the world. FSC was originally established in 1993 among rabid concerns of deforestation and instead stresses responsible forest management determined democratically. It aims to appease everyone involved economically and socially while at the same time responsibly managing the forest in the best interests of the environment. The FSC certification is extremely credible in that it promotes a benefit to the people, the environment, and adds economic value. FSC is nationally represented in more than 50 countries around the world. FSC also utilizes Chain of Custody (COC) standards that track materials through the production process from the forests to the consumer. After completion, the FSC label signifies responsible production and gives the consumer great confidence in what they are purchasing.

FSC Chain-of Custody is as the name suggests monitoring the entire path taken by materials from their origin in Forest to its completion as finished product with a FSC label on it. This is also true for reclaimed materials through recycling. COC monitors its path from the time the material is reclaimed till it becomes a finished product and gets labelled as FSC

FSC certification and label is provided to eligible manufacturers for assuring customers that the origin of the materials for the finished product comes from regulated and conserved forests. The forest materials under FSC are recovered with a due care to have reproduction and continuation of Forests with ecological balance to demonstrate social responsibility of environment protection.

The present standard for FSC is FSC-STD-40-004 V3=0 published in November 2016

SFI the Sustainable Forestry Initiative

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program is based on the principle that responsible environmental responsibility and economic success can co-exist. SFI participants practice sustainable forestry on all the lands they manage. The SFI program embraces a unique approach to sustainable forestry, recognizing that all forest landowners, not just SFI program participants, play a critical role in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of our forests. The SFI program is a very large and accepted forest certification programs, yet at the same it is supported at the local level with SFI Implementation Committees.

SFI Inc. is also an independent, non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management in North America. Consumers in growing numbers are demanding to know if the source of raw materials for the products they use are coming from preserved and conserved forest areas. As an answer to this growing demand participants for SFI program practice responsible forestry on the lands they manage and, once they are successfully audited by an independent SFI certification body they can make claim to SFI labeling.

The SFI Program addresses the fact that only 10 % of the world’s largest forests are certified through procurement requirements in the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard. SFI program requires that all SFI participants establish adequate measures to ensure that all their fiber sources are from legal and responsible sources. A COC is strictly enforced to ensure monitoring from origin to final product to ensure that, fiber sources and paper products do not get mixed up and SFI label is misused.

SFI wishes to ensure that all wood fiber resources for the present level of paper production can be met from this 10% certified forests and as the demand grows more landowners will get their forests certified by following SFI requirements.

The present Standard is SFI 2015-2019 Chain of Custody Standard

PEFC Program for the Endorsement of

The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, founded in 1999, which promotes sustainable managed forests through an independent third party certification. PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system. The credible standard impacts the way forests are managed globally and locally to ensure everyone can benefit from the environmental, social and economic advantages that forests offer. As the world’s largest forest certification system, PEFC remains the certification system of choice for small, non-industrial private forests. PEFC helps buyers identify the best performers by endorsing national and/or regional forest certification standards that meet its rigorous criteria. Due to how well respected the endorsement is, it has the support of: Trade unions, state authorities, environmental organizations, forest owners and managers, timber traders and, also producers/retailers of paper and timber products.

Present standards for PEFC are PEFC INTERNATIONAL STANDARD Requirements for PEFC Chain of Custody PEFC ST 2002:20. Second edition for standard was published in December 2015

Any organization that is involved in forest management

  • Any organization that is involved in forest management

forest management that wants to be environmentally responsible

  • Any organization in forest management that wants to be environmentally responsible while at the same time maintain economic successful
  • Any organization in forest management that would like to increase customer assurance in regards to product responsibility
  • Any organization that wants to prove that they only sell from a certified forest source
  • Any organization that would like to improve forest management
  • Any company that would like to increase their customer base with environmentally conscious customers
  • Any business or company that would like to display social responsibility and improve product Forestry
  • Any organization in forest management that wants to increase profitability

Forestry Management Consultants can prepare your facilities to have a Forestry Management System (FMS) and associated documents/records to show as evidence of having implemented the system.

Each facility needs to prepare documentation to show as evidence of having a streamlined process that ensure COC in product or service every time without fail.

It is acceptable that no facility/company like use illegally flogged forestry products or service but without an established Forestry management system it is difficult to have COC to avoid inadvertent mix-ups and willful negligence on part of those performing the tasks

It is therefore necessary to build a robust system which compels task performers to have defined roles, responsibilities and controls to ensure Conservation of Forestry.

In addition to having a system, the same is to be audited periodically to ensure that designed systems are being followed and controls are being exercised.

The audits performed by a team within the facility is called 1st Party Audit. Audits performed by consultant firms on supplier to FSC/SFI/PEFC   certified companies are known as a second party audit. Audit conducted by Certifying Body is known as 3rd party audit.

3rd Party audit is conducted by Accredited Certifying Bodies accredited by FSC/SFI/PEFC and are signatories to IAF and MLA.

Why is Consulting Required for Forestry Management Systems

  • All facilities engaged in forest based products or services will need a Forestry Management System (FMS)
  • FMS can assure customers that the facility has a robust system and can produce products and services with sources from conserved Forestry
  • FSC/SFI/PEFC is an international standard dedicated to build FMS and pave way for continual improvement in any facility
  • FSC has a four-element structure with 15 Sub clauses, SFI has a Six-element structure with 26 sub-clauses where as PEFC has 9 elements with 25 sub-clauses
  • . A good consultant firm can provide detailed explanation on the intent of the standard and build a Forestry management system
  • A comprehensive FMS can create confidence in customers and provide answers to all questions from certifying auditors
  • An FSC/SFI/PEFC consulting firm provides the techniques for implementing the system
  • Consulting firm can provide auditing services to help the facility to verify the accuracy and adequacy of implementation
  • Internal Forestry Audit is conducted by consultants help the facilities find deficiencies in their implementation, make correction and take corrective actions
  • The implementation is certified by an accredited agency thus completing the loop
  • There will be an annual surveillance audit to ensure implementation of certified FMS
  • The certification is renewable every three years
  • Improve social responsibility
  • Develop effective/responsible forest management
  • Provide a responsible product to the consumer
  • Ensure consumer assurance by purchasing FSC accredited product
  • Connect your business to environmental sustainability
  • Ensures the viability of forest product industry
  • Demonstrate corporate social responsibility
  • Display environmental leadership
  • Improve product Forestry
  • Connect your business to environmental sustainability
  • Increase profitability by attracting environmentally conscious customers
  • Protects important ecological forest area
  • Protects workers’ rights and welfare
  • Requires companies to demonstrate compliance with social, health and safety requirements in the chain of custody.
  • Maintains biodiversity
  • Enables people to manage their forests in a responsible way
  • QSE has over 27 Years of standing in the field of Consulting, Auditing and Training for any ISO Standards, Sector Specific Standards, Chain-of-Custody Standards, AISC standards or Food Safety Standards
  • All packaging industries require FSC/SFI/PEFC certifications for global acceptance
  • QSE has helped several packaging facilities to earn their Chain-of-Custody certifications and other certifications. All QSE customers pass final audits 100% with no or minimal nonconformities
  • Over 98 % of QSE customers passed Chain-of-Custody certification audits with no nonconformities first time around
  • Unlike our competitors QSE has a unique, comprehensive, evidence based simplified single level system which is easy to implement and provide evidence for implementation to earn Chain of Custody certifications FSC/SFI/PEFC
  • Templates designed by QSE are tried and tested. They are perfect. Facilities using the documentation developed by QSE do not have to struggle for evidence 
  • QSE ensures additional records required for FSC (6), SFI (8) and PEFC (10), compared to a generic quality management system, are clearly identified and retained
  • QSE’s Evidence Based Chain of Custody System includes forms and tables which helps organizations to sail through a certification audit without any nonconformities or with minimal nonconformities
  • QSE engages competent auditors to conduct internal audits 
  • At the end of an Internal audit QSE submits a detailed report which assists the facilities in building corrective actions and prevent actions to avoid possible nonconformities and helps to undertake preventive actions to avoid occurrence of any nonconformity
  • QSE performs thorough COC Internal audits for FSC, SFI and PEFC by covering all requirements clause by clause

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Bhaskar Kotte

Baskar Kotte

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