One key piece of feedback we have received from the RPP audits so far, is that members are not always checking the validity of certificates received under third party certification schemes.
Even if you buy certified material to mitigate risks as identified in your EUTR/RPP due diligence, it is not enough to just accept their validity. Risk mitigation is also about verifying the authenticity of those certificates and there have been many occasions where expired certificates have been provided or due diligence systems have done little to verify the information contained in them.
We have complied the following information to assist members buying certified material. We encourage the use of the following resources to verify that the FSC and PEFC certified timber they buy is genuine and from legitimate Chain of Custody supply chains:
- Go to the ‘FSC Public Certificate Search’
- Search under the Organisation heading for the organisation name or find a company by searching by Country or by License Code.
- Click on the company and check that their license matches their name and that their certificate is ‘Valid’ under the Status tab and still within the Expiry Date, both listed under Certificate Data.
- Check that the product and species you have purchased is certified by them under the Products heading on the company page.
- Finally, to double check that the exact product you have purchased is certified stock and not uncertified:
• Check your invoice and delivery notes.
• If the product is certified there should be an FSC claim code listed by the product entry.
FSC now also provide an additional online tool for checking the status of FSC certificates called Certificate Status Watch. The aim of this tool is to make the process of verifying the suppliers’ FSC status quicker, easier and more reliable. Companies can enter details of all their FSC certified suppliers into the tool. They will then be able to see their suppliers’ current status at a glance. They will also receive an automatic email if one of their supplier’s certificates expires.
Certificate Status Watch is available to companies who either hold FSC certification or an FSC trademark licence agreement to promote certified products. These companies can access it the through the FSC Trademark Portal. FSC certified companies are given login details by their certification body. Companies holding FSC trademark licence are given login details by the FSC national office (trademark service provider) who issued the licence.
- Go to the PEFC ‘Find Certified’
- Search by logo license number, certificate number or company name in the search field.
- Find the desired company in the Search results list and click on More info.
- Check that the Certificate status is ‘Valid’ and not ‘Expired’ under the Certificate
- Check also that the Certificate and PEFC logo license are within the Expiry Date.
- Check also that the product you have purchased falls within the Company Products
- Verify that your product is certified by checking for a PEFC claim code next to your product on the invoice and/or delivery notes.
How to report invalid certificates, expired companies selling products and certificate misuse:
If you find evidence of potential fraudulent use of the FSC logo, you can follow the instructions on this webpage to report FSC trademark misuse.
If you do find any discrepancies with expired dates or suspended companies selling certified products, then please contact PEFC UK at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will then confirm the position and certification status of the company and speak with them. If the company is an International organisation, PEFC UK will pass this information onto PEFC International and the PEFC National Governing Body of that country for action.
Remember: Your vigilance in these matters will benefit the integrity of the whole supply chain for certified products.