The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a German-based, international non-profit organization and certification framework working to promote responsible forest management. The FSC uses independent, third-party accredited certifiers to appraise operations and determine whether they comply to institutional standards. Two certification tracks are available: Forest Management Certification (FM) and Chain of Custody (CoC). The Forest Management Certification ensures that wood products are in complete compliance with the FSC’s social, economic, and environmental standards. The Chain-of-Custody Certification guarantees that the entire supply chain, from processing to manufacturing and distribution, meets FSC standards.
All FSC-certified operations must comply with a set of ten principles and 70 criteria, including:
- Compliance with laws: The organization shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations and nationally ratified international treaties, conventions and agreements.
- Workers’ rights and employment conditions: The organization shall maintain or enhance the social and economic well-being of workers.
- Indigenous peoples’ rights: The Organization shall identify and uphold indigenous peoples’ legal and customary rights of ownership, use and management of land, territories and resources affected by management activities.
- Community relations: The organization shall contribute to maintaining or enhancing the social and economic well-being of local communities.
- Benefits from the forest: The organization shall efficiently manage the range of multiple products and services of the Management Unit to maintain or enhance long term economic viability and the range of environmental and social benefits.
- Environmental values and impact: The organization shall maintain, conserve and/or restore ecosystem services and environmental values of the Management Unit, and shall avoid, repair or mitigate negative environmental impacts.
- Management planning: The organization shall have a management plan consistent with its policies and objectives and proportionate to scale, intensity and risks of its management activities. The management plan shall be implemented and kept up to date based on monitoring information in order to promote adaptive management. The associated planning and procedural documentation shall be sufficient to guide staff, inform affected stakeholders and interested stakeholders and to justify management decisions.
- Monitoring and assessment: The organization shall demonstrate that progress towards achieving the management objectives, the impacts of management activities and the condition of the Management Unit, are monitored and evaluated proportionate to the scale, intensity and risk of management activities, in order to implement adaptive management.
- High conservation values: The organization shall maintain and/or enhance the high conservation values in the Management Unit through applying the precautionary approach.
- Implementation of management activities: Management activities conducted by or for the Organization for the Management Unit shall be selected and implemented consistent with the Organization’s economic, environmental and social policies and objectives, and in compliance with the Principles and Criteria collectively.
It is possible for certified companies to hold both types of certification. Independent certification bodies will carry out annual FM and CoC audits and issue certificates. The FSC label, provided to all certified organizations, can be utilized for promotional purposes. A database of current certificate holders is available on FSC’s website.
 FSC, Report on the Structure of the FSC Certification System: https://fsc.org/sites/fsc.org/files/2019-07/FSC-RP-FSC%20Certification%20system%20V3%20EN%202019-03.pdf