Chain of Custody of Forest Based Products

Chain of Custody of Forest Based Products

This standard lays out the requirements for chain of custody certification for forest-based products – the conditions a company must meet to achieve PEFC certification. In addition, this standard includes minimum requirements on health, safety and labour issues.

PEFC Chain of Custody establishes the link from the forest to the market, tracking forest-based products from sustainable sources to the final product.

The current status of the standard

The PEFC General Assembly approved the revised standard on 17 January 2020. The standard entered into force 14 February 2020, replacing the previous version. There is now a transition period, after which all users of the standard will need to be in line with the latest requirements. 

Please note, the original transition date has been extended by 12 months. The first 6-month extension was due to Covid-19, with a second 6-month extension following the recent EA evaluation. The new transition date - the date by when your procedures need to be in line with the requirements of the 2020 standards - is 14 August 2022.

Are you a PEFC chain of custody certified company, and want to know how the 2020 Chain of Custody standard affects you? Then visit our website for more information.

A permanent working group continues the development of the PEFC chain of custody, maintaining the following standards:

  • PEFC ST 2001, PEFC Trademarks
  • PEFC ST 2002, PEFC Chain of Custody
  • PEFC ST 2003, Certification Body Requirements – Chain of Custody 

This includes the further implementation and interpretation of these standards, the development of new tools, and ensuring the PEFC chain of custody is up-to-date regarding stakeholder needs, technology developments, and certification demands.

What changed in the last revision?

Most notable was the expansion of the definition of controversial sources - material not to be used in certified products. 

The updated definition of controversial sources now incorporates additional sustainability requirements, enabling companies along the entire timber value chain, including those far removed from the forest, to help promote responsible forestry beyond the purchase of certified wood. 

The updated definition requires companies to avoid material originating from unsustainable activities, including those where:

  • ecologically important forest areas are not identified, protected, conserved or set aside;
  • the spirit of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) is not met;
  • forest conversions occur;
  • forest management does not contribute to the maintenance, conservation or enhancement of biodiversity on landscape, ecosystem, species or genetic levels; and
  • the capability of forests to produce a range of wood and non-wood forest products and services on a sustainable basis is not maintained or harvesting levels exceed a rate that can be sustained in the long term.

Genetically modified trees, as well as conflict timber, is also not allowed. 

Certified companies continue to need to implement requirements relating to health, safety and labour issues that are based on ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Find out more about the changes to our revised Chain of Custody standard:

PEFC Chain of Custody ST – Introduction to changes 420.34 KB

Want to know more?

To provide you with more information about the changes to both the Chain of Custody and PEFC Trademarks standards, we held a series of webinars during the public consultations. You can listen to the recording of the first webinar and see the answers to the questions asked during the first two webinars:

Questions and Answers: revised Chain of Custody and PEFC Trademarks standards 146.39 KB

2016-2020 revision timeline (completed)

  • 14 February 2020: The standard enters into force
  • 17 January 2020: PEFC General Assembly approved the revised standard
  • October 2019: Approval by the PEFC Board
  • September 2019: WG meeting
  • May – July 2019: Public consultation
  • March 2019: WG meeting
  • September 2018: WG meeting
  • July 2018: Conference call
  • January 2018: WG meeting
  • August 2017: WG meeting
  • April 2017: WG meeting
  • January 2017: WG meeting
  • July 2016: First WG meeting
  • June - July 2016: Public consultation

Standard status

The revised Chain of Custody standard was approved 17 January 2020. It entered into force 14 February 2020. The transition date is 14 August 2022.

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