What is Supply Chain Integrity?

FSC is committed to providing a credible system for responsible forest products. In some supply chains, there are allegations that the FSC system is being misused or contaminated with non-FSC-certified materials. These assertions are taken very seriously, and FSC has enforced its processes to investigate claims. FSC has a long-term plan to systematically address integrity risks in the supply chains of our certificate holders.

As part of this plan, we are taking three immediate actions to address misuse of the system: 1. Thorough investigation of product groups or species suspected of having an increased risk of misleading FSC claims. 2. Implementation of mandatory transaction verification to address inaccuracies of FSC transactions in confirmed high-risk supply chains. 3. Randomized fiber tests of FSC-certified products to identify possible species used in the product, and potentially the country or region of harvest as a spot-check mechanism.

Why is FSC investigating Okoume?

In the recent past, there have been a number of complaints by stakeholders questioning the integrity of FSC-certified Okoume. The complainants asserted that the amount of FSC-certified Okoume sold was is not compatible with the volume of FSC certified supply available.

Previously, Assurance Services International (ASI) conducted investigations, collected, and analyzed data as well as utilized wood identification technologies. Supply chain audits were conducted, and no irregularities were discovered within FSC trade. However, there have been new allegations, including some reports claiming FSC-certified Okoume could be sourced from illegally harvested forests, and not from where it is claimed to originate. Also, that Okoume is being purchased from countries with no FSC-certified Okoume producers or forests, being repackaged in European countries and then sold as FSC-certified products. These persistent concerns warranted a more detailed investigation into the Aucoumea klaineana Pierre (Okoume) supply chain in 2020.

What is FSC doing to address these concerns?

FSC is working with Assurance Services International (ASI) to conduct a thorough investigation into the Okoume supply chain, and address problems where they may occur.

The current Okoume transaction verification scope includes a full range of operations within the Okoume supply chain, including all CHs which buy/sell FSC certified Okoume, for all FSC product types. Additionally, according to INT-STD-20-011_28, CBs and ASI could also apply their ability to check non-FSC purchases and sales as well. Finally, as with other transaction verification loops, depending on the analysis of traded volumes, ASI might consider the need to conduct more detailed investigative work.

In addition to this increased audit scrutiny, FSC may use traditional wood anatomy testing to determine species and stable isotope ratio analysis to determine the region of harvest for FSC-certified Okoume products. If any of the allegations are found to be conclusive, associated certificate holders will be immediately suspended or terminated and the false claims advice note (ADVICE-40-004-18) will be applied. The investigation, supply chain mapping and possible wood identification testing is taking place throughout 2020 and final reporting on the transaction verificarion loop is scheduled for early 2021.

Additional information

For additional information and even to have a discussion about the Okoume transaction verification loop, please contact Phil Guillery, SCIP Director at p.guillery@fsc.org or Marysol Jaime, SCIP Manager LATAM at m.jaime@fsc.org