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Monday, 19 February 2018
Public consultation open; is UK sourced wood low risk?

A public consultation is now open, running from 19 February to 20 April, on a revised controlled wood national risk assessment for the United Kingdom.

The Forest Stewardship Council is dedicated to promoting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. We pursue this mission through independent certification of forest management, which allows the FSC logo and claims of responsible forest management to be used on products included paper, packaging, stationery,timber and furniture.

In addition to raw material from FSC certified forests, products carrying the FSC Mix label may contain a proportion of reclaimed/recycled wood or material from other controlled sources. It is these other controlled sources which we are currently re-assessing in the UK, i.e.wood which is neither from FSC certified forests nor reclaimed/recycled. We need to be confident that any such wood sourced in the UK is from acceptable sources.

The FSC controlled wood system is designed to ensure that there is a low risk of material from unacceptable sources being included in FSC labelled products.

The five controlled wood categories are:

1. Illegally harvested wood;
2. Wood harvested in violation of traditional and human rights;
3. Wood from forests in which high conservation values are threatened by management activities;
4. Wood from forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use; and
5. Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.

The rules governing the use of controlled material are set out in the FSC standard FSC-STD-40-005V3-1 EN Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood.

An important element of the FSC controlled wood system is the assessment of risk related to the origin of material for each controlled wood category. It is for this reason that FSC UK maintains a national risk assessment for the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The existing risk assessment concludes that there is a low risk of UK sourced wood coming from any of the five unacceptable sources listed above.

This risk assessment is now being revised in line with FSC-PRO-60-002 V3-0 EN The Development and Approval of FSC National Risk Assessments and FSC-PRO-60-002a V1-0 EN FSC National Risk Assessment Framework. In the FSC National Risk Assessment Framework you will find full details of the indicators and thresholds used to determine whether there is low or specified risk for each of the five controlled wood categories.

The draft risk assessment, available for download below, has been prepared by external consultants and a six member working group (with equal representation of economic, environmental and social interests), with FSC UK Forest Standards Manager Dr Owen Davies acting as Coordinator. It takes into account a broad range of evidence, but to ensure that the assessment is robust we are inviting your comments and further evidence. You can also download the draft National High Conservation Value Framework for the UK, which is important to the interpretation of controlled wood category 3.

The public consultation will run from 19 February to 20 April, and during that time you can submit your comments directly to Owen, either by e-mail ( or via the FSC UK postal address. Please be aware that all comments will be published in a consultation report unless you request confidentiality.

Once the public consultation is closed, feedback will be analysed and the draft risk assessment will be further revised if necessary. We expect to submit a final draft and consultation report to FSC International at the beginning of July, and anticipate formal approval of the risk assessment in September. Once approved, the risk assessment will be maintained as described in the introduction to the document, with FSC UK keeping a record of stakeholder comments and reviewing the document at least every five years; in particular, FSC UK will consider the regulatory implications of the UK leaving the European Union.

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