FSC® Forest Certification

Certification for Responsible Forest Management

What is FSC® Forest Certification?

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) forest management certification strengthens your position in the marketplace - guaranteeing your customers that timber from your forestry operations meet the world's most stringent environmental, economic, and social standards for responsible forest management.

Forest landowners and managers can achieve forest certification to the FSC standard by completing a third-party audit that verifies adherence to the FSC Principles and Criteria. FSC certified forests have a competitive advantage of selling forest products down the supply chain to organizations that want to source certified Forest Stewardship Council products.

Why Choose SCS?

SCS Global Services has had FSC accreditation since FSC’s inception, bringing more than 25 years of experience as a certification body for auditing forest management operations and forestry products. Our FSC responsible forestry certifications span five continents and more than 30 million acres, worldwide. This track record of success reflects the professionalism of our assessment teams, fast and reliable service, effective stakeholder engagement, and a deep commitment to FSC's mission and objectives.

SCS also offers Controlled Wood Certification for forest management operations not ready for full FSC certification.

How FSC Responsible Forestry works Watch this case study video of Saltus Holding’s FSC® Certification audit for their forestry operations in Costa Rica.

  • Service Offerings
  • Process
  • FAQs
  • Certified Clients
  • Remote Audits
  • Program Documents

SCS’s forest management services include FSC certification to all types and sizes of forest operations including private companies, government forestry agencies, timberland investment management organizations, and community forests, as well as individual and groups of small landowners.

  • Forest Management for single-site or multi-site: A forest management entity with one or several sites operating under a single forest management plan.
  • Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests (SLIMF): Streamlined certification protocols for small operators or groups of operators with low harvest levels or under a regionally-specified size limit.
  • Group Certification: Certification protocols for multiple landowners or forest managers seeking certification under one certificate, under the direction of a group manager.
  • Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP): Certification protocols for operations that harvest non-timber forest products, such as ornamentals and consumables.
  • Controlled Wood Certification: Allows forest management enterprises to demonstrate that their wood does not come from unacceptable sources. Ideal for organizations that are new to certification.

Information is available on the FSC website about our certified clients and entities currently undergoing evaluation.


To see a list of our FSC regional affiliates, click here.

  1. Apply for Certification

    Representatives of your forest management operation fill out an application.

  2. Audit Proposal

    SCS evaluates the application and prepares an audit plan and proposal, including the costs and a timeline for the evaluation process. The applicant then authorizes a work order and the certification process begins.

  3. Stakeholder Consultation

    The SCS assessment team, consisting of experts in the relevant fields of forestry, social science, and economics, conducts stakeholder consultations to acquire outside input regarding the applicant’s management performance in relation to the FSC Principles and Criteria.

  4. On-Site Audit

    The assessment team conducts an on-site audit to determine if the applicant’s management system is being implemented in conformance with the FSC standards. Forest conditions are also assessed. A report is produced that details the results of the evaluation.

  5. Peer Review

    First, the assessment report is reviewed by the applicant for factual accuracy. For a majority of operations, the assessment report is then submitted to independent peer review to validate the appropriateness of the team’s analytical methodology and conclusions.

  6. Certification Decision

    The SCS certification committee reviews the assessment report and decides whether or not to approve certification. If granted, a certificate is issued for a five-year period, subject to annual surveillance audits. SCS can also provide client marketing support.

Why should I get FSC certified?

FSC certification can give you new or strengthened access to supply chains that require certified wood and can help you demonstrate your commitment to responsible forestry. Companies, governments, and other institutions are increasingly developing purchasing policies that prefer or require FSC certified materials and products to demonstrate their commitment to environmentally and socially responsible forest practices.

How much does FSC Forest Management certification cost?

Costs vary depending on the location, size, and complexity of your forestry operation. Please contact us for a custom quote and to determine if certification is right for you.

How long is my FSC certificate valid?

FSC certificates are valid for five years, subject to annual surveillance audits.

How do I know if I'm ready for FSC Certification?

FSC Certification is the gold standard for the practice of responsible forest management. A preliminary assessment conducted by SCS is the best way to determine whether you are ready for a full certification evaluation.

SCS provides certification services for a number of forest management standards. 

Details on all forests and products currently certified by SCS according to the requirements of the FSC can be found in the FSC's Registered Certificates database. This is the official database of FSC certificate holders. Find all companies certified by SCS and Public Summaries of their evaluation reports by following these steps:

  1. Go here: FSC's Registered Certificates database
  2. Select "SCS" (Scientific Certification Systems) within the first drop-down menu next to "Certificate Code"

Remote Audits

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, FSC has issued a derogation (FSC-DER-2020-001) temporarily allowing some on-site FSC Forest Management pre-evaluation and surveillance audits to be replaced with remote audits. In response to the derogation, SCS has developed a suite of tools that utilize technology including virtual video meetings, field tested cameras and satellite imagery. As a result, approved on-site audit visits can now be replaced with remote audits, ensuring the health and safety of our auditors and clients alike.

File Name Document
Application - Forest Conservation Program English
For countries with approved FSC Forest Management National Standards, please search the FSC Document Centre for the particular country. The FSC Document Centre also contains other FSC normative documents. Visit Site
FSC Forest Management Certification Process English
FSC® Forest Management Certification Visit Site
SCS FSC Chain of Custody Indicators for Forest Management Enterprises English
SCS Generic Interim Standard for Forest Management Certification under the FSC English
SCS Interim Standard for Argentina Spanish
SCS Interim Standard for Costa Rica Spanish
SCS Interim Standard for Estonia English
SCS Interim Standard for Fiji English
SCS Interim Standard for Hawaii English
SCS Interim Standard for India English
SCS Interim Standard for Latvia English   |   Latvian
SCS Interim Standard for Panama Spanish
SCS Interim Standard for Paraguay Spanish

Apply Now

Ready to start the process? Complete an Application.

Forestry Business Group