What are the key data found so far?
The first data indicate that active oak flooring processors are mainly located in Asia and Eastern Europe. China is the largest processing market, followed by Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland.
Finished certified oak flooring products are then sent to European markets to reach end consumers. Germany and the UK are the main importing markets followed by North America.
Globally, more than 1,600 certificate holders manufacture or trade oak flooring products. Almost 400 of these certificate holders participated in this investigation. Over 85 per cent responded and sent the requested details. Certificate holders submitted over 1,000 transactions for the period October 2018 to March 2019 to ASI, including sales and purchase volumes.
Why did the transaction verification happen?
FSC and ASI introduced oak flooring transaction verification as a response to allegations received about high-risk oak species and illegally logged timber entering FSC-certified supply chains.
ASI will further investigate the origin of oak and first-tier processors, as the above verification focused on processors and traders of semi-finished and finished oak flooring products. FSC will only decide to take further actions after reviewing the necessity of using wood identification techniques for oak flooring and of organizing additional transaction verification.
FSC is working closely with ASI to follow-up on the non-responses. They are also investigating non-conformities found through transaction verification or wood identification testing.
Any FSC-certified company found responsible for false claims faces stringent disciplinary measures. Penalties can lead to suspension or termination of a certificate, as indicated in the FSC Advice Note on Addressing deliberate false claims (ADVICE-40-004-18). The advice note is available in the FSC Directive on Chain of Custody Certification (DIR-40-004) on Pages 24 to 28.