More merchants and printers are currently going through the process of obtaining FSC Chain of Custody certification following a global trend that has seen paper and printing as the fastest growing sectors for FSC certification.
This growth reflects strong interest from customers in using paper that has the environmental and social credibility of FSC certification. Many popular brands combine FSC certified new fibre with recycled material.
But there are some basic rules that need to be followed by any organisation seeking to use the FSC trademarks.
The words ‘Forest Stewardship Council’, the initials ‘FSC’ and the ‘checkmark and tree’ logo are all trademarks owned by FSC A.C. – a not for profit organisation operated from Bonn, Germany.
Any organisation using the FSC trademarks can only do so with permission from FSC AC, an accredited certification body or an FSC nominated agent. FSC Australia expects to become an FSC nominated agent in due course.
Companies and other organisations wanting to make claims about the FSC status of the products they are buying, using or selling must buy their products from an FSC Chain of Custody certificate holder.
Organisations holding Chain of Custody Certification
Organisations that have been certified as complying with FSC Chain of Custody standards are entitled to use the FSC trademarks to identify their FSC certified products on product labels and in promotion for those products.
In each case, use of the trademarks is approved by the certification body that issued the certificate to ensure that standards associated with the trademarks have been met.
FSC does not want its trademarks to be used in a way that could mislead customers about which products are certified or used to make exaggerated claims about FSC certification.
When the FSC trademarks are used to promote products, the certification code is included so customers can check that the certificate is current and that the product is within the scope of certification.
Certification codes can be checked on the FSC database ( www.fsc-info.org).
Organisations that are not certificate holders
Organisations that do not hold an FSC Chain of Custody certificate can apply either directly to FSC International or, once it becomes a nominated agent, through FSC Australia for permission to use FSC trademarks.
Where such a request is made, the following conditions will normally apply:
· The right to use FSC trademarks cannot be passed on because the Chain of Custody has been broken;
· Evidence will need to be provided that the products being promoted are FSC certified (invoices detailing the FSC certificate code).
· The FSC certificate code relevant to the product being promoted needs to be included so customers can check the status of the certificate.
· Care will need to be taken to ensure the FSC trademarks are not used in a way that misleads customers or makes exaggerated claims.
Maintaining the integrity of the FSC trademark is seen as an important part of managing the FSC system. People or companies that misuse the trademarks or use it without permission can expect consequences.
FSC will generally work through intellectual property lawyers to protect its trademarks and protect the interests of companies, organisations and individuals who invest their time, money and credibility in the FSC system.
Inquiries regarding use of FSC trademarks can be directed to email@example.com.