Information for Certificate Holders
The name Forest Stewardship Council, the acronym FSC and the FSC Logo are all registered trademarks which may not be used without prior authorization. There are many rules associated with how FSC trademarks can be used and this page aims to explain some of them.
Please note that the only time an FSC label can be applied to a product or an FSC claim can be made on a sales or delivery note is when it is done by an FSC certified company and it relates to one of their FSC certified product groups. Information about the steps you need to take to be able to use the FSC trademarks can be found here.
Where to get an FSC label
Your FSC accredited certification body will provide you with access details for the FSC Trademark Portal when your company gains certification, allowing you to create and download labels and logos for promotional use.
If you are producing design work on behalf of a certified company, the certified company can provide you with the correct trademarks. Please note that the designs may need to be approved by the certified company's certification body.
If you are creating designs that will be printed by an FSC certified printer, the printer will be able to include the FSC label on the final proofs.
Trademark approval for certified companies is carried out by the company's accredited Certification Body, not by FSC directly.
Your Certification Body needs to sign off your labels and also any other promotional material you have mentioning FSC, or using our name or logo.
You need to submit the label to the certification body once for a product group and it may then be used on that product group without resubmission. If there are other design considerations, the certification body may require resubmission, for example, if the product packaging was altered to contain additional statements about the source of the product and its environmental and social credentials as well as the FSC label.
You should discuss with your certification body at the earliest opportunity what they require from your company
for sign off of artwork, how frequent this will be and under what conditions you would need to resubmit. If you are going to have a lot of trademark work carried out by your certification body or if your deadlines are always going to be tight, it might prove useful to draw up a Service Level Agreement with your certifier ensuring that you will get a response to artwork submissions within a minimum guaranteed time and that you will provide artwork in a standard format and have an agreed format for notification and submission.
Please note that trademark approvals for FSC Trademark Licence Holders in the UK is carried out by FSC UK.
Information needed to generate on-product labels
The FSC Trademark Portal will generate the correct label based on your requirements.
You will need to provide the following information:
1. License Code
Your FSC license code (a number in the format of FSC-C000000) will automatically be added to the labels by the FSC Trademark Portal.
Please note that your License code is different from your certificate code (which is in the format of XX-FM/COC-000000).
2. Label type
You need to work out what label is the right one for your product.
During your chain of custody assessment, you should have notified your auditor whether your products were:
- FSC 100% - containing nothing but fibre from FSC certified forests
- FSC Mix - containing a mix of FSC, reclaimed timber or fibre and/or controlled wood; or
- FSC Recycled - reclaimed timber or fibre
More information about label types can be found here.
3. Product type
The product type should be specified on FSC certified printed publications and where there is likely to be any ambiguity as to what the label relates to.
A list of product groups is included on the label generator and examples include 'envelope', 'paper', 'packaging' etc.
4. Layout - portrait or landscape
Once you know which type of label applies to your product, you need to decide whether a portrait or landscape label will be appropriate to the design of the packaging or other on-product labelling.
The FSC label can be in colour: either green text on a white background or white text on a green background, or it can be in black and white: white text on a black background or black text on a white background. You should always use the FSC label in black and white or green and white if you are using a 4 colour printing process or having a black plate made up.
If the print process uses a limited number of colours, the FSC label can appear transparent on a solid colour background, provided that the contrast allows legibility. In this case, the content of the label and border shall appear only in black and white and the use of the transparent background would need approval by the certification body. To reproduce the FSC label in any colour except black and white or green and white requires special approval from your certification body.
6. Format and size
The minimum width for the portrait label is 17mm and the minimum height for the landscape label is 12mm.
Mini labels can be used in some circumstances. Please download our mini label factsheet for further information.
7. Percentage recycled content
If using a label with the mobius loop, the percentage recycled content should be inserted. The figure is always 100% for the FSC Recycled label.
Various translations of the label are available to download and up to four languages can be included in a label.
If you are looking to use the FSC label in a way that does not meet the standard requirements e.g. reproducing the label in an alternative colour, you will need to get in touch with your Certification Body to seek special approval.
The FSC Trademark standards can be downloaded below (please note that one is for Certificate Holders and one is for Trademark Licence Holders - please contact us if you are unsure which one applies to you).
Standards interpretations are provided where these are necessary to ensure consistent application of FSC standards. To view these, please click here.
If you are unsure about any aspect of on-product labelling or are having any troubles with your labels, please contact us. While we cannot give approval for trademark use by certificate holders our staff can certainly provide advice and give information.