Technical Updates

Tuesday, 11 December 2018
New UK Controlled Wood National Risk Assessment Published

FSC Controlled Wood

A revised controlled wood National Risk Assessment (NRA) for the UK, approved this month by FSC International, concludes that there is a low risk of wood coming from five categories of unacceptable sources

The assessment was undertaken by a small working group and was consulted upon earlier this year.

FSC Mix products can contain timber or fibre from FSC-certified forests, reclaimed materials and/or FSC controlled wood. Controlled wood is material which has been assessed using the relevant FSC standards and found to be at a low risk of coming from the following unacceptable sources:
• Illegally harvested wood;
• Wood harvested in violation of traditional and human rights;
• Wood from forests in which high conservation values are threatened by management activities;
• Wood from forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use; and
• Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.

The new NRA reaches the same conclusions – of low risk for all of these sources – as the previous risk assessment for the UK.

‘A National Risk Assessment which concludes low risk is not a reason for complacency,’ says FSC UK Forest Standards Manager Dr Owen Davies, ‘nor does it mean that FSC Forest Management certification is unnecessary. Whilst the controlled wood system addresses the risk of obtaining material from unacceptable sources, it doesn’t provide the robust guarantee of management quality or drive the same positive changes as FSC certification. But, particularly for smaller woodlands where the costs of certification remain relatively high, it does provide access to markets which demand FSC-certified products.’

FSC UK recognises the particular challenges faced by owners of smaller woodlands, which is why we are playing our part in global efforts to improve access to certification through our small woods project.

As per FSC-STD-40-005 V3-1 EN Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood, organisations sourcing controlled material from the UK must use this revised risk assessment to determine the level of risk for each controlled wood category as part of their due diligence system. As the risk conclusions are the same as the previous NRA, we hope that this transition will be a smooth one.

The new NRA is available for download from the FSC International Document Centre.

If you have any questions about the NRA, please contact Owen at

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