Paulownia investigation results in FSC blocking a Chinese company

FSC / Jonathan Perugia
Forest from above
FSC / Jonathan Perugia
December 22, 2023

In November 2023, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) blocked SDD Tmallwood (BV-COC-153198), a Chinese company belonging to the FSC-certified paulownia supply chain, for making false claims in 2021. FSC’s assurance partner, Assurance Services International (ASI), found evidence supporting this while conducting the second transaction verification (TV) loop on Paulownia.  

During the analysis of SDD Tmallwood’s transaction documents, ASI found that they sold Paulownia-edged glued boards with FSC 100% claims, even though these products were not made from FSC-certified material. The investigation into SDD Tmallwood also revealed that they are associated with two companies who have been blocked by FSC in the past. This kind of association is indicative of an integrity risk to FSC.  

Based on this evidence, FSC has blocked SDD Tmallwood from the FSC system for 42 months. This means that SDD Tmallwood’s FSC certification has been revoked, and for the entire duration of the blockage period they are neither eligible for recertification, nor can they become an outsourcing partner of an FSC-certified organization.  

Overall, the second TV loop on FSC-certified Paulownia did not reveal systematic risks to the integrity of FSC-certified supply chains of Paulownia, other than the deliberate false claims made by SDD Tmallwood.  

In response to the results of the first TV loop on FSC-certified Paulownia, FSC developed the Advice Note on Confirmation of Origin for FSC-certified Paulownia Products (Advice-40-004-20), which became effective in 2021. The second TV loop was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the normative action FSC has taken to strengthen the integrity of FSC-certified Paulownia supply chains.  

The results of the second TV loop indicate that FSC needs to use targeted risk-based interventions to protect the integrity of the FSC certification system and ensure that its trademarks continue to remain credible. Thus, FSC recently enhanced the scope of this Advice Note (Advice-40-004-02) by adding other high-risk timber species that carry an FSC claim.  

FSC and ASI launched the second TV loop on FSC-certified supply chains of Paulownia in July 2022. ASI collected transaction data for the period January – December 2021 from 67 certificate holders across the world. As a result of the first TV loop on FSC-certified Paulownia, which was launched in 2019, FSC blocked six companies for making false claims.  

Certificate holders blocked from the FSC system, including those with Paulownia in their certification scope are available on FSC Public Search, with their status listed as ‘suspended and blocked’ and ‘terminated and blocked’.  

For more details about the FSC Advice Note 40-004-20 (V2-0), please visit page 42 of this document.  

For more information about the second TV loop on Paulownia, click here.  

For more information about the first TV loop on Paulownia, click here.  

For more information about blockages, click here