The decision follows an investigation by FSC and Accreditation Services International (ASI), which assesses performance of certification bodies accredited to FSC, following a report from WWF Germany about tropical timber in briquettes supposedly made from temperate European charcoal.

Supply chain mapping conducted by ASI as well as fiber testing of Dancoal products strongly suggested that the tropical timber could not have come from any FSC certified forestry. Samples were sent to and tested at the Thuenen-Institut in Hamburg (Germany) and the Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service in Madison (Wisconsin, USA).

As a consequence, ASI carried out onsite assessments at the Dancoal factory and was able to confirm that the tropical timber used was uncertified and that the company had neglected to follow their segregation procedures correctly, resulting in the mixing of certified and uncertified charcoal.

FSC therefore found that Dancoal, an FSC chain-of-custody certificate holder, breached the terms of its Trademark Licence Agreement with FSC, which allows it to use the FSC logo. As a result, FSC has suspended its licence with immediate effect.

Kim Cartensen, Director General, Forest Stewardship Council, said: “Consumers want to be confident that when they buy an FSC product, it meets the highest social and environmental standards. We therefore investigate reports of the misuse of the FSC brand, and where necessary, take action to address violations, including through suspension from the scheme.”

The suspension means that Dancoal will no longer be able to use the FSC trademarks or trade in FSC-certified products globally. The suspension will remain in force until Dancoal can demonstrate to FSC that it has identified the relevant issues in its processes, corrected them and provide sufficient assurance to both ASI and FSC that they will not be repeated.

For the past year, FSC has undertaken a series of important steps to ensure the integrity of its charcoal supply chain. To this effect, FSC tasked ASI with carrying out transaction verification of all the major suppliers and producers of charcoal products in Eastern Europe and has sent numerous samples of charcoal products for fiber testing at both the Thuenen Institut and the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory.

Reinforcing these measures, ASI has also carried out assessments of charcoal producers and traders in Ukraine and Poland and extraordinary audits of these companies to verify their purchases and sales.