Controlled Wood

What is FSC Controlled Wood?

FSC operates with the Controlled Wood system to minimise the risk of including wood from five categories of Unacceptable Sources into FSC products. (© Brent Stirton Getty Images WWF)© Brent Stirton Getty Images WWFControlled Wood certification is designed to allow organisations to avoid the categories of wood considered unacceptable which are to be used in products carrying the FSC Mix label.

FSC Controlled Wood is defined as: virgin wood or wood fibre which has been verified as having a low probability of including wood from any of the following categories:

a) Illegally harvested wood;

b) Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights;

c) Wood harvested in forests in which high conservation values are threatened by management activities;

d) Wood harvested in forests being converted from natural and semi natural forest to plantations or non- forest use;

e) Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.

What circumstances call for Controlled Wood?

FSC Controlled Wood can only be mixed with FSC certified wood in labelled FSC Mix products, which is one of three types of FSC claim.

The three types of FSC claim are:

  • FSC 100% - containing nothing but fibre from FSC certified forests
  • FSC Mix - contains a mixture of some/all of the following: timber or fibre from an FSC-certified forest, reclaimed timber or fibre (pre and post consumer) and controlled wood; or
  • FSC Recycled - recycled material (pre- and post-consumer reclaimed material)

There are two different systems under which FSC Mix products can be produced:

1. Percentage System Products (solid wood) - this must contain a minimum of 70% certified FSC wood/pulp and/or post-consumer reclaimed materials. The balance (maximum 30%) must be FSC Controlled Wood or pre-consumer reclaimed material.

2. Credit System - there is no minimum level of FSC and/or post consumer reclaimed input but only a proportionate percentage of outputs can be labelled as FSC. All non-FSC/ non-recycled content must be FSC Controlled Wood.

Sourcing Controlled Wood

The three methods of sourcing FSC Controlled Wood are shown below:

1. FSC Controlled Wood can be purchased from forests which have been successfully assessed against FSC’s Controlled Wood Standard for forest management enterprises (FSC code: XX-CW/FM-000000). Please note that the FSC Controlled Wood standard for forest management enterprises is not intended to be directly comparable to the high social and environmental requirements of the ‘FSC Principles and Criteria’. The FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are designed to identify responsible forest management. FSC Controlled Wood standards in contrast are designed only to allow companies to avoid the categories of wood considered unacceptable to be used in products carrying the FSC Mix label.

2. FSC Controlled Wood can be purchased from FSC Chain of Custody certified organisations whose certificate includes a Controlled Wood code (XX-CW-000000)

3. FSC certified organisations can carry out their own Controlled Wood risk assessments following the procedures specified in FSC-STD-40-005 V2-1. This process is easiest for suppliers fairly close in the supply chain to the forest source e.g. sawmills and paper mills. The further down the supply chain a company is, the more difficult it is likely to be for them to conduct the assessments

Selling Controlled Wood

There is no FSC Controlled Wood label but Controlled Wood can be included in FSC Mix product groups.

Organisations can sell FSC Controlled Wood business to business with a Controlled Wood claim, but in order to do so the company selling the Controlled Wood must be covered by a valid FSC Controlled Wood code (XX-CW/FM-000000 or XX-CW-000000).

Companies supplying FSC Controlled Wood can only make claims regarding FSC Controlled Wood or use the statement ‘FSC Controlled Wood’ in sales and shipping documentation between FSC certified companies commercialising FSC Controlled Wood for the purpose of mixing with FSC certified material to produce an FSC certified produce or one-off project.

For more information on provisions relating to claims for FSC Controlled Wood please refer to Annex 4 of FSC-STD-40-005 V2-1.

Finding Suppliers of FSC Controlled Wood

How to find Controlled Wood suppliers on the database...Suppliers of Controlled Wood can be identified using the FSC International certificate database at

To search for forests certified to FSC Controlled Wood standards select ‘CW/FM’ from the drop down list of categories under the ‘Certificate Code / Type’ search field.

To search for FSC Chain of Custody certified companies with Controlled Wood included in the scope of their certification place a tick in the box that states 'FSC Controlled Wood'.

Further Information

FSC Standards related to Controlled Wood can be found below.

All other FSC Policy and Standards documents can be found here.

The Global Forest Register

Global Forest RegisterGlobal Forest Register

The Global Forest Register is a free on-line resource providing guidance on risk designations for the five Controlled Wood categories in over 150 countries. Other tools and resources can also be found on this site.

National Risk Assessments

Status of Controlled Wood National Risk AssessmentsStatus of Controlled Wood National Risk Assessments

The Status of FSC Controlled Wood National Risk Assessments can be accessed here.

Controlled Wood Risk Assessment for the UK

FSC UK has completed an FSC Controlled Wood Risk Assessment for the UK (FSC-CWRA-006-GBR V3-0). The assessment received official approval in March 2014 and concludes that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all low risk for all categories.

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231