Chain of Custody certification is carried out by accredited certification bodies that verify compliance of the wood flow accounting system applied by an enterprise complies with PEFC's International Chain of Custody Standard.
All bodies certifying on behalf of PEFC meet the requirements for certification bodies defined by International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) standards.
There are two mechanisms for tracing the origins of forest-based products, tailored to the situation and needs of certified companies. These include:
- The percentage based method – this mechanism allows mixing certified and non-certified raw material during the production or trading process. However the percentage of the certified raw material must be known and communicated to the company's customers (average percentage).
Alternatively, the company can sell as certified the proportion of its production which equals the percentage of certified raw material used (volume credit).
- The physical separation method – this mechanism requires separating certified and non-certified raw material during all phases of the company's production/trading process to ensure that certified raw material is not mixed with non-certified raw material.
When the physical separation method is used for products with percentage-based claims, every delivery must be processed or traded separately.
To prevent wood from controversial sources (illegal logging) finding its way into products, PEFC has put in place a stringent safeguard mechanism for the avoidance of raw material from controversial sources.
The mechanism is a compulsory part of PEFC’s Chain of Custody standard and puts in place safety checks such as risk analyses, external assessments and onsite inspections to ensure the legality of the uncertified wood. These safeguard checks are scrutinized by the independent certifiers during their annual audits and provide companies with a “double safeguard measure” for their procurement.
The forthcoming revised Chain of Custody standard specifies as controversial sources those activities that do not comply with local, national, or international legislation, in particular relating to the following areas:
- forestry operations and harvesting, including conversion of forest to other uses;
- management of areas with high environmental and cultural values designed and covered by the legislation;
- protected and endangered species, including requirements of CITES;
- health and labour issues relating to forest workers;
- property, tenure and use rights of indigenous peoples;
- payment of taxes and royalties; and
- areas utilizing genetically modified organisms.
Implementation of the necessary mechanisms within a company to ensure compliance with PEFC's International Chain of Custody Standard requires detailed management systems in line with firmly established and globally implemented standards such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001.
The Scheme Documentation section provides more information on requirements and implementation of Chain of Custody methodology: