FSC Reaches 10,000 Chain of Custody Certificates Milestone

Hong Kong, 25 Jul 2017. The number of FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certifications in the Asia Pacific region has reached a record high number of 10,077, according to the facts and figures of FSC International released in July. The APAC region now has the second largest number of FSC CoC certificates, after Europe's 17,264. The no. of certificate holders has increased significantly despite slowing growth in regional economy.

Asia and the Pacific is covered by 740 million hectares of forests, accounting for 26 percent of the region's land area, and 18 percent of global forest cover. The APAC region has experienced exponential growth in the CoC certificates over the past five years. From 2012-2017, the number of CoC certificates has grown from 5,538 to 10,077, accounting for about 82% increase and an average year-on-year (YoY) growth of 13% -- approximately equivalent to gaining 900 new CoC certificates each year. It is a remarkable growth that outpaced the APAC regional economic growth over the same period, which the growth rate for the latter was between 5.3 percent and 5.7 percent.

What is FSC CoC Certification?

FSC scheme covers Forest Management (FM) which sets standards for responsible management of natural and plantation forests, and Chain of Custody (CoC) Certification, which applies to those (mainly companies) who process, trade or manufacture FSC-certified wood or derived materials. FSC CoC certification verifies that FSC-certified material has been identified and separated from non-certified and non-controlled material as it makes its way along the supply chain with traceability. Besides ensuring the material are sourced from responsibly managed forests, it also covers labour rights and health and safety of workers as supply chain integrity.

 Examples of FSC certified products

Examples of FSC certified products

Besides ensuring the material are sourced from responsibly managed forests, FSC CoC certification also covers labour rights and health and safety of workers as supply chain integrity.

The country that has the highest net increase in the actual number of CoC certificates is China. The 3,032 certificates gained account for 67% of the total increase in CoC certificates in the Asia Pacific region. Vietnam comes second with a 285 net increase in certificates, followed by Hong Kong (185), India (141) and Japan (96).

The country that has the highest YoY growth is Thailand (25%), followed by China (20%), Sri Lanka (19%), Vietnam (16%) and the Philippines (15%). The top three product types that see the highest increase in CoC certificates are Paperboard/packaging, Paper, and Furniture, which China had a staggering growth of 224%, 182% and 179% in these three categories respectively.

Adam Beaumont, the interim director of FSC in Asia Pacific region, says the increasing awareness of corporate social responsibility benefits the robust growth in certification. “Over the past five years, we’ve seen an increasing number of brand owners and large national and multi-national businesses include responsible sourcing of forest products in their procurement policy, FSC by far is the most popular scheme to use because of its credibility and global recognition,” he continues. “As a result, FSC certification has become a must-have ‘ticket’ for manufacturers looking to join the unbroken supply chains that can produce FSC labelled products.”

Over the past five years, we’ve seen an increasing number of brand owners and large national and multi-national businesses include responsible sourcing of forest products in their procurement policy, FSC by far is the most popular scheme to use because of its credibility and global recognition
— Adam Beaumont, interim director of FSC in APAC

Beaumont also anticipates that Southeast Asian (SEA) countries will be picking up the strong growth after China. “While China is still the World’s Factory, we see a ‘Factory Asia’ emerging, where countries from Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Vietnam, India are more involved in the global supply chains. These countries show impressive growth in FSC certified businesses,” he further explains. “A lot of Southeast Asia countries are looking to grow export volumes into European markets looking for responsibly sourced forest products, particularly furniture. Having FSC certification helps companies meet compliance and timber legality requirements in Europe, such as European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), where FSC certification forms a key part of a company’s due diligence.”

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible forest management around the world. Recognized by leading ENGOs as the Gold Standard in forestry, the FSC certification scheme ensures that forests products are responsibly managed and harvested. Products that are certified and carry the FSC label present businesses and consumers with a responsible, ethical choice in a crowded marketplace. FSC creates success by engaging the market at scale to create real impacts: conserving wildlife, alleviating climate change and improving the lives of workers and communities.

Source: FSC Asia Pacific press release.