The Forest Stewardship Council – FSC - has just announced its intention to track electronically every purchase of FSC materials. Yes, I said track electronically, EVERY purchase of FSC materials.

FSC announced that it is developing a “cloud-based” online claims platform.

Phase one of FSC's tracking program begins in April of 2014 when all certificate holders will be required to register and connect with all of their vendors and receive connection requests from all of their customers. This will create the initial network to control FSC claims.

By the beginning of 2015 FSC will require certificate holders to upload all PURCHASES to the network. For some folks, this will be a few items, a few times per year. For major FSC vendors like us in the veneer and plywood business, this will require multiple transactions every day.

FSC is accepting comments until December 29, 2013. Every FSC certificate holder ought to receive a comment form from their third party certification body to complete if desired.

I am attaching a copy of the draft On Line Claims Platform advice from FSC.

I’m sure that this roll-out of the FSC On Lines Claims Platform will go every bit as smoothly as the Obamacare sign-up portal. (Sorry, I could not resist the snark.)

I would love to tell you that I had lots of answers about this new requirement, and that I could answer all your questions, but I cannot. I have had a couple of conversations with our certification body, and they have verified that these requirements will ultimately apply to every purchase of FSC materials (and I assume Controlled Wood materials).

You now know about as much as I do. Specific questions should be directed to your third-party certifier.  For what it is worth, my discussion verifying the requirement was with Scientific Certification Systems.  

There is always the chance that this may change before full implementation, but I for one am not holding my breath that any changes will be for the better.

This ought to get interesting.

Mike DiGiuro recently retired from Flexible Materials of Jeffersonville, IN, capping off a 40-year career in the veneer and plywood industry. He is a frequent presenter at seminars and industry meetings, and writes the occasional article for trade journals. He may be contacted at

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