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Is non-certified wood low risk in the UK?

Way back in Forest Matters September 2016, we gave you an introduction to the role of controlled wood in the FSC system, and mentioned that there would soon be a public consultation on a revised national risk assessment for the UK.

Unfortunately, we were forced to delay that public consultation because of the need to do more work on the revision of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, the standard used in FSC forest management certification in the UK.

We continued to work on the controlled wood risk assessment during 2017, and now expect to hold the public consultation on the draft document in early 2018.

FSC sets rigorous standards for controlled wood risk assessments, and the range of evidence which must be collated and considered means that the UK risk assessment is a substantial document.

Many of the issues it addresses are relatively uncontroversial in the UK context, especially when compared with other countries around the world, and we wouldn’t expect many (or any!) readers to work their way through the whole document.

But you may have views on specific aspects of the risk assessment, such as violations of workers’ rights, threats to high conservation values, or losses of semi-natural woodland.

We’ll provide more information when the public consultation is launched. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact FSC UK Forest Standards Manager Dr Owen Davies at

What’s the difference between FSC-certified wood and controlled wood?

The short answer is that FSC-certified wood has been independently confirmed to come from forests responsibly managed according to FSC’s standards, whereas controlled wood has been judged, on the basis of a risk assessment, to be at a low risk of coming from a number of undesirable sources.

For a fuller explanation of controlled wood, see the Forest Matters article from September 2016, or visit the FSC International website.

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231