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FSC certification scheme


Brief description of the instrument and its modus operandi

The main evaluation process is an in depth review of the forest management systems and the results on the ground. The certification body sends a team of experts to assess social, economic and environmental conditions at the forest being evaluated. At the end of the evaluation, the assessment team reports to the forest manager any areas where management does not meet the applicable requirements, known as ‘non-conformities’. If these are minor non-conformities, the certification body can issue a certificate, on condition that actions will be taken to deal with the non-conformities. If these are major non-conformities, the certification body will not issue a certificate until the non-conformities have been solved.

Which problem the instrument is supposed to solve?

To install an independent certification body in order to secure and promote responsible forest management.

Purpose or main objective / overall goal of the instrument?

To promote responsible forest management

Side objectives/goals of the instrument?

To develop and implement democratic processes in forest management (e.g. to consult stakeholder in forest management decisions).

Innovation content or potential of the instrument?

Potential to improve the marketing of NWFP as NWFP gathered in FSC certified forests can also be marketed using the trademark FSC.

Which laws and regulations support the implement of this instrument?

A) FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship. B) FSC – National Standard Germany. C) United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio 1992 – Agenda 21.

The initiator/promoter of the instrument?

Non-governmental organisations

Which organizations are involved in the operationalization of the instrument?

a) FSC Deutschland (Association to support FSC international and to promote and support responsible forest management) b) Certification body (Organisations/Private businesses) responsible to assess and evaluate the conditions in forest enterprises and to

What roles do these organisation play in each of them?

a.) FSC Deutschland - responsible to develop and update the National Criteria and Indicator certification scheme; b.) certification body implements and controls the certification scheme via audtis; c.) the 3 chambers of FSC are consultation bodies for forest management stakeholders

How the monitoring is ensured?

The certification body sends a team of experts to assess social, economic and environmental conditions at the forest. If forest management meets national principles and criteria, a FSC certification for a time period of 5 years is issued. However there are controls on an annual basis.

How the compliance is ensured?

The trademark FSC is protected within the European Union. Non-compliance in the utilisation of the trademark will be punished. Non-compliance in forest management will lead to the denial of the certificate.

Additional comments

www.fsc.org Facts and Figures January 2014

Brief description of the context for the emergence of the instrument

The Earth Summit produced no legally binding commitments on forest management, but it did result in Agenda 21 and the non-legally binding Forest Principles. And crucially it provided a forum for many non-governmental organizations to come together and gather support for the innovative idea of a non-governmental, independent and international forest certification scheme. Following intensive consultations in ten countries to build support for the idea of a worldwide certification system, the FSC Founding Assembly was held in Toronto, Canada in 1993 (Source: https://ic.fsc.org/our-history.17.htm)

Have any of the items mentioned above changed since the instrument entered into force?



National standards of FSC are being adapted every 5 years in order to meet actual requirements in forest management.

What are the main reasons or drivers behind changes mentioned?

periodic reviewing process.

Is there any qualitative or quantitative study of the impacts of the instrument?

Yes, please specify


There are several studies assessing the impact of FSC certification. One example published by FSC is: Karmann, M. and Smith, A. 2009.FSC reflected in scientific and professional literature (Literature study on the outcomes and impacts of FSC certification). FSC Policy Series No. 2009 – P001. www.fsc.org

Year 1994
Policy area
Affected activity
Affected actors Landowner/land manager, Picker/harvester/hunter, Processor
Products All NWFP
Countries Germany
Regions (NUTS 2) Lower Saxony
Focus on NWFP
Document category
Instrument type
Legal status
"{{{Legal status }}}" is not in the list of possible values (Binding, Non-binding) for this property.
Geographical scope International
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