Forest product certification or “Chain of Custody” (CoC), relates to the traceability of forest products flowing from the place of origin (the forest), through processing and eventually into the hands to the end user. This type of certification is available to wood products manufacturers, mills, printers, distributors and retailers who purchase, utilize or sell certified wood.
Chain of Custody certification relies on a control system to track and handle the forest product through its receipt, production and sale. At every stage of production (e.g., forest gate, sawmill, primary and secondary manufacturing, distribution, printing.) the company involved is required to hold a valid CoC certificate in order to make a credible claim that the product supports responsible forest management at the time of sale. This means that every part of the chain is audited to ensure proper tracking and handling.
For chain-of-custody (CoC) certification there are three systems found in Ontario – FSC, SFI and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Systems (PEFC). Each of these systems has a CoC certification system associated with it. FSC and SFI have developed their own standards, and the CSA has adopted the CoC standards of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both the SFI and CSA are endorsed by the PEFC.