Practical Guidance on CoC Certification | WWF

Practical Guidance on CoC Certification

What is a Chain of Custody Certification?

Chain of Custody (CoC) system is a process of tracking wood products from the forest stand to the point of sale. A CoC certification will ensure that timber products originate from certified forests and are not mixed with uncertified ones at any point of the supply chain, except under strict controls when percentage (%) labeling is being used.

Percentage based labeling is a mechanism by which wood products that contain only a proportion of certified raw material may still carry a label indicating a claim that they come from well-managed forests. The accreditation body who owns or manages the certification scheme determines the guideline and limitations on such claims.

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Who can implement CoC Certification?

CoC certification is available for forest products manufacturers, traders, agents, printers, publishers and others. A chain of custody system can be implemented by a harvesting contractor who buys standing timber in a forest, by processors/manufacturer throughout the chain, by agents who buy and sell the material and by distributors who buy in large quantities and then break bulk and sell on in smaller lots.


Nussbaum, R. and Simula, M.The Forest Certification Handbook - 2nd edition. Earthscan, 2005.

This book gives practical advice on developing, selecting and operating a certification programme which provides both market security and raises standards of forestry management.