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Solutions for getting compliant to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)


What is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?
FSC is an international non-profit organization founded in 1993.
FSC is a certification and labeling system that guarantees that paper and wood products carrying the FSC label come from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources.
The FSC’s mission is to promote the environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the
world’s forests.

There are more than 50 environmental certification standards around forestry as well as for forest and paper products wordwilde. Here are some further examples for these certification standards:

  • Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) – Europe
  • Canada’s National Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA)
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)
  • Chile Forest Certification Scheme (CERTFOR)
  • Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFS)
  • Finnish Forest Certification System (FFCS)
  • Lembaga Ekolabel Indonesia (LEI)

The (software-) requiremets for certification are quite similar. This article will focus on  certification according to FSC

Types of FSC certification
1. Forest management (FM) certification involves an inspection of the forest management unit by an independent FSC-accredited certifier. If the forest complies with FSC standards, it is issued a certificate. FSC standards are based on ten Principles for responsible forest management, which apply to all FSC-certified forests in the world.

2.FSC Chain of Custody is for companies that manufacture, process or trade in timber or non-timber forest products and want to demonstrate to their customers that they use responsibly produced raw materials. FSC Chain of Custody helps companies to strengthen their sourcing policies and comply with public or private procurement policies where FSC is the preferred option. The FSC label therefore guarantees that the product can be tracked back to an approved source. In this case, sales invoices and shipping documentation are needed to track FSC materials and/or product materials. 
Chain of custody certification tracks the path taken by raw materials from the forest to the consumer. This includes all successive stages of processing, transformation, manufacturing and distribution.
A product can only carry the FSC label or logo if all steps along the supply chain (from forest to shelf) receive a chain of custody certificate.

You can find a detailed description of all requirements for both types of FSC certification on the official site on e.g. here

SAP ERP provides several ways especially for tracking the origin of purchased raw material. There are also flexible reporting capabiities in order to generate and to provide the documents, which are necessary to get the FSC certificate.

Here are some ideas and suggestions about modules and tools, which can support FSC activities. These proposals are more relevant for FSC Chain of Custody – Certification.

Creating different Material Masters (FSC certified- /non-FSC certified Material) -> Easy” solution, but in case you have to handle several certification standards, you will increase the number of your materials, and you have double maintenance.  

Variant Configuration> Helps you, to keep your number of material masters small. Even pricing can be based on characteristics, maintained in variant configuration, e.g. in a sales order or purchase order.

Batch Management -> Huge capabilities, part of SAP ERP. You can define batch characteristics in order to describe and to track for each batch
 * Product groups (FSC Pure, FSC Mixed, FSC Recycled, FSC Controlled Wood)
 * Control system (Transfer system, Percentage system, Credit system)
 * FSC percentage (percentage, if relevant)

Documentary Batches -> “lean” batch management, if full blown batch management is not needed

Quality Certificates
-> can be used to track inbound vendor certificates as well as for handling of outbound certification

-> Part of SAP ERP, SAP CRM and SAP NetWeaver 7.0 
Managing the auditing process
 Planning an audit program
 Performing audits
 Monitoring corrective and preventive actions
 Analyzing findings
Managing partners
 Maintaining and assigning business partners
 Notifying actions required
 Qualifying (classifying) auditors
Managing documents
 Basic documents
 Audit evidence
 Audit reports

Substance Volume Tracking -> Does cover similar requirements, but has been designed mainly for customers from chemical industry, in order to track chemicals and other hazardous substances, to ensure that you stay below the quantity limits. For FSC compliance, you need to ensure, to have purchased a certain minimum quantity of certified wood, so this solution will not fit ‘out-of the box’.

cFolders -> In cFolders vendors can upload e.g. their current certification status.

Business Intelligence -> Huge capabilities for creating reports and for doing all required analysis

P.S. Further details about the gin from Belgium, about President Obama’s inaugural invitations and other interesting information around FSC can be found in the official FSC newsletter:

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  • Michael:

      I wrote about the Forest Stewardship Council in a personal blog post several months ago, called A Tale of Two Pegs.  I do amateur woodworking, on rare occasions, and the source of materials is an important consideration.  Thanks for sharing this (near Earth Day).  And my employer thanks you too :-).