Forest management certification can be complemented by chain-of-custody certification. This is the verification of an accounting process that traces raw materials from certified forests and other sources. The chain might run from the forest to the first mill, or from the forest through all stages of production right to the end consumer.
A certification system’s chain of custody provides:
- independent third-party verification of wood sources
- assurance that uncertified sources come from legal and controlled or non-controversial sources
- verified information on the percentage of certified, uncertified and recycled content in a product, and
- the ability to communicate that content in an on-product label.
In Canada, there are three major, credible certification standards used that provide forest certification as well as chain-of-custody certification and product labelling
- Canadian Standards Association (CAN/CSA Z809)
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Program (SFI)
At the international level there are two umbrella programs, FSC and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC), that endorse or accredit national and regional forest certification programs as meeting widely accepted international principles for good forest management. In Canada SFI and CSA have been endorsed by PEFC, and the CSA program uses the PEFC international chain of custody standard. FSC standards for Canada are accredited by FSC International.