8th November 2016

Chain of Custody

Set up new chain of custody certification or review existing certification.

Chain of Custody (FSC/PEFC)

Chain of Custody (CoC) is a methodology to ensure materials are traceable and meet certain requirements. There can be lots of sustainability problems with materials sourcing: pollution, land use change, community displacement, slavery, child labour and illegal logging, to name a few. CoC applies minimum standards to every link in the supply chain, so you know every organisation that has handled the material is operating to a particular standard. If one of these organisations loses their certification the material loses its certification from that point on.

CoC certifications require annual audits and include FSC® and PEFC. These differ from voluntary schemes, such as the Ethical Trade Initiative. These schemes require an organisation to operate within predetermined requirements but are never audited against them. CoC gives the reassurance that an independent organisation has checked all of the organisations in the supply chain are compliant with the standard.

Services and Experience

Totem Sustainability can help you set up a new certification or provide advice on an existing one. Furthermore, Totem Sustainability can provide training on why using sustainable timber is important and advise what else you can do to increase your use. For project certification, Totem Sustainability can help you prepare for your initial visit and provide advice on compliance before your final audit.


The Forestry Stewardship Council, FSC, promote sustainable management of the worlds forests. Totem are associate members of the FSC and can support you and your business through all the steps to achieving certification.

We have successfully helped increase FSC timber use to over 95% at organisations through training, negotiating contracts, collecting and reporting timber data, working with the procurement teams, engaging with suppliers and supporting annual audits.

For more information, check out the websites for FSC and PEFC.

Controlled Wood

If you can't get timber from a certified source, it may be possible to achieve controlled source status. This involves assessing the source for its impact and mitigating any risks identified. In order to explore this option you will need to already have a Chain of Custody certification and good relationships with your suppliers will be critical. We can complete this work on your behalf, support you through the process or advise along the way.

Project Certification

It is becoming increasingly popular for construction projects to target FSC or PEFC project certification, where you commit to using over a particular percent of certified product. This is one way to demonstrate to clients and customers your commitment to minimising your sustainability impact and can help you win future work. You will have to appoint a certifying body who will provide a minimum of two visits, an initial review and a final audit, but you can also request additional surveillance audits. You will need to collect data on all of your timber products and their respective certification documents in order to receive your certification after your final audit.