PEFC Chain-of-Custody

Certification for Wood and Paper Products

What is PEFC Chain-of-Custody?

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) chain of custody (CoC) is a certification program for international traceability of forest products. PEFC recognizes both national and international regulations for forest products in the supply chain, ensuring the link back to certified sustainable forests under PEFC-endorsed national forest management standards. PEFC endorses national forest management standards in more than 48 countries worldwide and has chain of custody certificate holders in more than 70 countries.

SCS provides the independent third-party audit to forest product manufacturers that want to achieve PEFC certification. Certification helps organizations to expand market access internationally for certified products, and it enables them to demonstrate sourcing of products that support responsible environmental, social, and economic practices.

To get certified, organizations will undergo an audit to review procedures and documentation for tracking certified material, including a site visit to tour facilities and interview key staff. If conformance to the PEFC CoC Standard is met, companies are issued a certificate and given the trademarks for on-product and off-product promotions. PEFC Certification also contributes to LEED® for building products.

Why Choose SCS?

SCS offers Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certification to the PEFC standard as well as triple certification to the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) standard and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) standard. A leader in third party certification for nearly three decades, SCS is well-positioned to address your certification needs every step of the way. Our dedicated professional staff will guide you through the CoC certification process with fast and reliable service.

  • Eligibility
  • Process
  • FAQs
  • Certified Clients
  • Program Documents

PEFC CoC certification is available to all companies that process or sell forest products, including sawmills, secondary manufacturers, brokers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, printers, and paper merchants. This certification verifies use of input materials from FSC-certified forests and recycled sources.

We also offer triple Chain of Custody certification with FSC and SFI.

Complementary Services

PEFC Chain of Custody certification audits can be conducted concurrently with FSC and SFI Chain of Custody audits, enabling you to get even more value from your certification efforts.

Woody biomass producers may also wish to combine PEFC Chain of Custody audits with Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) audits to reduce overall audit time and expense.

  1. Apply for Certification

    Complete and submit the SCS Application form. SCS will then prepare a proposal for your approval with suggested scope of work, timeline, and quote. If the proposal meets your needs you will sign a Work Order and the audit will be scheduled.

  2. Written Procedures

    Create company procedures that demonstrate how certified wood or paper products will be tracked throughout your operation. SCS provides guidance to help explain the Chain-of-Custody requirements.

  3. Pre-Audit Assessment

    An SCS auditor will review your procedures for thoroughness and conformance. The auditor identifies areas for improvement in the procedures prior to the audit.

  4. On-site Audit

    During a site visit, an SCS auditor will review the Chain-of-Custody procedures and documentation for a typical job (from receipt of inputs to the final sale). Additionally, the auditor will tour the facilities where certified material is handled and interview key staff. We look for evidence that staff has been duly trained in the responsibilities that have been assigned to them and that staff possess an understanding of the workflow for certified products.

  5. Assessment Report

    Based on audit findings, SCS produces an audit report. The audit report is submitted to a Technical Associate who validates the appropriateness of the auditor's methodology and conclusions.

  6. Make Certification Decision

    The Technical Associate decides whether to grant certification. If granted, you will be issued a certificate valid for a five-year period. Any conditional Major Corrective Action Requests (CARs) identified by SCS will need to be closed prior to obtaining certification. SCS can also provide client marketing support.

  7. Maintain Certification

    Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain Chain-of-Custody certification. Certified companies and product offerings are listed in the official certificate holder database (PEFC or SFI). Certified companies are granted permission to use trademarks for on-product and off-product applications in conformance with the appropriate trademark standard.

Do I need to be Chain-of-Custody certified?

Companies pursue Chain-of-Custody certification to demonstrate to their clients and the general public that the wood or paper products that they are selling are traceable to the forest of origin. Your company needs Chain-of-Custody certification if you take legal ownership of certified materials or products and wish to pass on a commercial claim that the product that you are selling is certified, whether that claim is on-product, on an invoice, or in other communication. Companies at the end of the supply chain, such as retailers who will not be passing the claim forward on an invoice, are not required to hold a certificate although they may choose to do so. Retailers and other companies at the end of the supply chain that don't chose to hold a certificate must register directly with PEFC or their national representatives to use their trademarks.

What type of Chain-of-Custody certification do I need?

SCS offers two of the most common forest product chain of custody certification schemes, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Market demand for products certified by these schemes varies by region and market sector.

Every Chain-of-Custody certificate holder must conform to the basic Chain-of-Custody Standard. Certification to additional standards may be necessary depending on the structure of your organization (multi-site or group standard) and the use of uncertified materials (virgin or recycled) that you might wish to source and mix with your certified materials or products. Please contact an SCS salesperson to determine what certification is necessary for your operation.

How much does Chain-of-Custody certification cost?

Prices for SCS auditing services vary depending on the location, size, and complexity of your operation. Chain-of-Custody systems range from simple to very complex, and there are separate CoC standards addressing companies with multiple facilities, outsource manufacturing, and the verification of recycled or non-controversial sources. Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain your certification. SCS offers reduced prices for companies that hold multiple SCS certifications (for example, Chain-of-Custody and Indoor Air Quality or Recycled Content). Please ask your sales associate about other types of certifications that might benefit your company.

How long does the Chain-of-Custody certification process take?

At SCS, customer service and responsiveness is a priority. We typically are able to send our auditors to your facility, provide you with an audit report, and make a certification decision within 6 to 8 weeks of starting the project. Larger and more complex projects may take longer.

How long is my Chain-of-Custody certificate valid?

A Chain-of-Custody Certificate is valid for five years. Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain your certificate.

SCS provides certification services for a number of forest product chain of custody standards.

All companies currently certified according to the requirements of the PEFC Chain of Custody standard can be found using Responsible Wood – Chain of Custody for forest products

For a list of the Australian based businesses that have achieved certification to either AS4707 Chain of Custody for certified wood and forest products or PEFC Chain of Custody of Forest Based Products see Responsible Wood/PEFC Australia Chain of Custody Certification Register.

*At this time it is not possible to search the official Responsible Wood list for only those certificate holders who have been certified by SCS Global Services. However, the validity of a given certification can be verified with SCS upon request.

File Name Document
PEFC Certification Requirements Visit Site
PEFC ST 2001-2008 V2-0 - PEFC Logo Usage Requirements English
PEFC ST 2002-2013 V2-0 - PEFC Chain of Custody Requirements English
SCS International Responsible Forestry Certification – Qualifications Profile English
Why Work with SCS? English

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Forestry Business Group