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SFI® Chain of Custody Certification

For wood and paper products under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®
Joseph Kochanski, Business Development Manager, Natural Resourcesphone icon510.452.6394 Email

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Chain of Custody Standard is one of the leading certifications to show consumers and stakeholders that your wood and paper products are sourced responsibly by tracking fiber content from certified responsible forests. Contact us for more information.

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SFI CoC certification is available to all companies that process or sell forest products in the United States, including sawmills, secondary manufacturers, brokers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, printers, and paper merchants. This certification verifies use of input materials from certified forests and recycled sources.

Complementary Services

SFI Chain of Custody certification audits can be conducted concurrently with Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) Chain of Custody and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Chain of Custody audits, enabling you to get even more value from your certification efforts.

Wood products may also qualify for SCS Recycled ContentSCS Indoor Advantage indoor air quality, or SCS CARB Formaldehyde Compliance (CARB ATCM) certification. 

Woody biomass producers may also wish to combine Chain of Custody audits with Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) audits to reduce overall audit time and expense.

  1. Apply for Certification

Complete and submit the SCS Application form. SCS will then prepare a proposal for your approval with suggested scope of work, timeline, and quote. If the proposal meets your needs you will sign a Work Order and the audit will be scheduled.

  1. Written Procedures

Create company procedures that demonstrate how certified wood or paper products will be tracked throughout your operation.

  1. Pre-Audit Assessment

An SCS auditor will review your procedures for thoroughness and conformance. The auditor identifies areas for improvement in the procedures prior to the audit.

  1. On-site Audit

During a site visit, an SCS auditor will review the Chain-of-Custody procedures and documentation for a typical job (from receipt of inputs to the final sale). Additionally, the auditor will tour the facilities where certified material is handled and interview key staff. We look for evidence that staff has been duly trained in the responsibilities that have been assigned to them and that staff possess an understanding of the workflow for certified products.

  1. Assessment Report

Based on audit findings, SCS produces an audit report. The audit report is submitted to a Technical Associate who validates the appropriateness of the auditor's methodology and conclusions.

  1. Make Certification Decision

The Technical Associate decides whether to grant certification. If granted, you will be issued a certificate valid for a five-year period. Any conditional Major Corrective Action Requests (CARs) identified by SCS will need to be closed prior to obtaining certification.

  1. Maintain Certification

Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain Chain-of-Custody certification. Certified companies and product offerings are listed in the official certificate holder database (PEFC or SFI). Certified companies are granted permission to use trademarks for on-product and off-product applications in conformance with the appropriate trademark standard.


Do I need to be Chain-of-Custody certified?

Companies pursue Chain-of-Custody certification to demonstrate to their clients and the general public that the wood or paper products that they are selling are traceable to the forest of origin. Your company needs Chain-of-Custody certification if you take legal ownership of certified materials or products and wish to pass on a commercial claim that the product that you are selling is certified, whether that claim is on-product, on an invoice, or in other communication. Companies at the end of the supply chain, such as retailers who will not be passing the claim forward on an invoice, are not required to hold a certificate although they may choose to do so. Retailers and other companies at the end of the supply chain that don't chose to hold a certificate must register directly with PEFC or their national representatives to use their trademarks.

What type of Chain-of-Custody certification do I need?

SCS offers all three forest product chain of custody certifications, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Market demand for products certified by these schemes varies by region and market sector.

Every Chain-of-Custody certificate holder must conform to the basic Chain-of-Custody Standard. Certification to additional standards may be necessary depending on the structure of your organization (multi-site or group standard) and the use of uncertified materials (virgin or recycled) that you might wish to source and mix with your certified materials or products. Please contact an SCS salesperson to determine what certification is necessary for your operation.

How much does Chain-of-Custody certification cost?

Prices for SCS auditing services vary depending on the location, size, and complexity of your operation. Chain-of-Custody systems range from simple to very complex, and there are separate CoC standards addressing companies with multiple facilities, outsource manufacturing, and the verification of recycled or non-controversial sources. Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain your certification. SCS offers reduced prices for companies that hold multiple SCS certifications (for example, Chain-of-Custody and Indoor Air Quality or Recycled Content). Please ask your sales associate about other types of certifications that might benefit your company.

How long does the Chain-of-Custody certification process take?

At SCS, customer service and responsiveness is a priority. We typically are able to send our auditors to your facility, provide you with an audit report, and make a certification decision within 6 to 8 weeks of starting the project. Larger and more complex projects may take longer.

How long is my Chain-of-Custody certificate valid?

A Chain-of-Custody Certificate is valid for five years. Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain your certificate.

For immediate service:

Joseph Kochanski, Business Development Manager, Natural Resources phone icon 510.452.6394 Email Joseph