- Certification 101
- Forest Management
Chain-of-Custody certification is required for any forest industry (sawmill, loggers, cabinet manufacturers, etc.) that handles or sells certified material. The Forest Industry Section of the Center for Forest and Wood Certification is set up to help industry of all sizes with education and techinical assistance. The main effort of the Forest Industry Section is securing a group Forest Stewardship Council® chain-of-custody certificates.
Forest Industry Section Administrator
For any questions related to wood industry or chain-of-custody certification please contact the Forest Industry Section Administrator, Bobby Ammerman.
130 Robinson Rd.
Jackson, KY 41339
Phone: (859) 257-9511 ext. 256
The process for becoming CoC certified through the Center and group membership is rather simple. After filling out a membership application, the Center’s CoC administrator or appointed representative will contact the applicant and set up a date and time for an on site scoping session. While the Center is certification neutral the majority of interest in CoC certification has been for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certificates. Regardless of certification system, the scooping session usually takes just a few hours or less and will cover all aspects of being certified through the Center. At that time, information will be collected for the development of written procedures that describe the process by which the member will keep certified materials separated and identified throughout the storage and manufacturing process, as well as, how to properly purchase and sell certified products. The Center drafts the written procedures on behalf of the member from notes gathered during the scoping session. After the written procedures are agreed to by the member and CoC Administrator an initial audit/evaluation is conducted to determine if all requirements of certification system (in all cases to-date FSC) are met by the member. Depending on the situation and location the initial audit may be conducted through email or over the phone rather than coming on site.
The biggest impediment to certification is usually sourcing. All materials that go into a certified product must be certified themselves and sometimes these products are more expensive or do not even exist. Even the wooden dowels or biscuits used to join larger wood pieces in furniture manufacturing must be certified! Before considering certification, check with your suppliers to see if they can provide you with certified materials. Do not just assume that since a company has a chain-of-custody certificate that they can provide you your specific certified raw materials! The key question to ask is can they provide you an invoice with the claim of certified material for you specific products? Also be sure that product is certified under the certification system your customers are asking for. There are numerous certification systems used in the United States and they cannot be used interchangeably.
The same process is used for providing technical assistance for large producers (for example those who are over 5 million in annual revenue, the maximum limit imposed by FSC for industries to be in a group CoC) . The Center will conduct an on site scoping session for large industries, provide training during the scoping, and draft written procedures on-behalf of the producer. The Center will also be on site during the initial audit if requested by the producer.