SFI® Chain of Custody Certification

For wood and paper products under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®

What is SFI® Chain of Custody Certification?

SFI Chain of Custody (CoC) is one of the leading certifications in North America to show traceability of wood, paper, and forest fiber content from certified responsible forests. SCS provides the independent audits for certification, so that companies can make credible claims for sourcing sustainable forest products.

The SFI certification system ensures that forest products moving through the supply chain are certified at every stage, from timber operations to logging, sawmills, pulp mills, paper companies, printers and manufacturers. Certification demonstrates that an organization is committed to supporting sustainable forestry, including protecting biodiversity and ecosystems, and other environmental, social, and economic principles of the SFI Forest Management Standard. SFI Certification also contributes to LEED® for building products.

To achieve certification, SCS conducts an audit to determine conformance of the SFI standard, which includes procedure and document reviews, an onsite audit, and staff interviews. Forest products certified to SFI are recognized internationally by Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), allowing products to pass claims throughout both systems.

Why Choose SCS?

Bundle your SFI audit with FSC® and PEFC to be more cost-effective and to establish your commitment of forest product certifications to your supply chain and consumers. Customer service is SCS’s #1 priority with reliable, efficient and responsive full-time staff, auditors from the forest product sector, and a connected network of sustainability experts in diverse industries. 

Leverage our full suite of sustainability services, ranging from certifications for recycled content, carbon neutral and zero waste, as well as SCS Consulting services for supply chains and corporate sustainability. We aim to help companies of all sizes succeed in demonstrating success with their sustainability goals.


  • Service Offerings
  • Process
  • FAQ’s
  • Certified Clients
  • Program Documents

SFI CoC certification is available to all companies that process or sell forest products in the United States, including sawmills, secondary manufacturers, brokers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, printers, and paper merchants. This certification verifies use of input materials from certified forests and recycled sources.

Complementary Services

SFI Chain of Custody certification audits can be conducted concurrently with Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) Chain of Custody and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Chain of Custody audits, enabling you to get even more value from your certification efforts.

Wood products may also qualify for SCS Recycled ContentSCS Indoor Advantage indoor air quality, or SCS CARB Formaldehyde Compliance (CARB ATCM) certification. 

Woody biomass producers may also wish to combine Chain of Custody audits with Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) audits to reduce overall audit time and expense.

  1. Apply for Certification

    Complete and submit the SCS Application form. SCS will then prepare a proposal for your approval with suggested scope of work, timeline, and quote. If the proposal meets your needs you will sign a Work Order and the audit will be scheduled.

  2. Written Procedures

    Create company procedures that demonstrate how certified wood or paper products will be tracked throughout your operation.

  3. Pre-Audit Assessment

    An SCS auditor will review your procedures for thoroughness and conformance. The auditor identifies areas for improvement in the procedures prior to the audit.

  4. On-site Audit

    During a site visit, an SCS auditor will review the Chain-of-Custody procedures and documentation for a typical job (from receipt of inputs to the final sale). Additionally, the auditor will tour the facilities where certified material is handled and interview key staff. We look for evidence that staff has been duly trained in the responsibilities that have been assigned to them and that staff possess an understanding of the workflow for certified products.

  5. Assessment Report

    Based on audit findings, SCS produces an audit report. The audit report is submitted to a Technical Associate who validates the appropriateness of the auditor's methodology and conclusions.

  6. Make Certification Decision

    The Technical Associate decides whether to grant certification. If granted, you will be issued a certificate valid for a five-year period. Any conditional Major Corrective Action Requests (CARs) identified by SCS will need to be closed prior to obtaining certification. SCS can also provide client marketing support.

  7. Maintain Certification

    Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain Chain-of-Custody certification. Certified companies and product offerings are listed in the official certificate holder database (PEFC or SFI). Certified companies are granted permission to use trademarks for on-product and off-product applications in conformance with the appropriate trademark standard.

Do I need to be Chain-of-Custody certified?
Companies pursue Chain-of-Custody certification to demonstrate to their clients and the general public that the wood or paper products that they are selling are traceable to the forest of origin. Your company needs Chain-of-Custody certification if you take legal ownership of certified materials or products and wish to pass on a commercial claim that the product that you are selling is certified, whether that claim is on-product, on an invoice, or in other communication. Companies at the end of the supply chain, such as retailers who will not be passing the claim forward on an invoice, are not required to hold a certificate although they may choose to do so. Retailers and other companies at the end of the supply chain that don't chose to hold a certificate must register directly with PEFC or their national representatives to use their trademarks.

What type of Chain-of-Custody certification do I need?
SCS offers all three forest product chain of custody certifications, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Market demand for products certified by these schemes varies by region and market sector.

Every Chain-of-Custody certificate holder must conform to the basic Chain-of-Custody Standard. Certification to additional standards may be necessary depending on the structure of your organization (multi-site or group standard) and the use of uncertified materials (virgin or recycled) that you might wish to source and mix with your certified materials or products. Please contact an SCS salesperson to determine what certification is necessary for your operation.

How much does Chain-of-Custody certification cost?
Prices for SCS auditing services vary depending on the location, size, and complexity of your operation. Chain-of-Custody systems range from simple to very complex, and there are separate CoC standards addressing companies with multiple facilities, outsource manufacturing, and the verification of recycled or non-controversial sources. Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain your certification. SCS offers reduced prices for companies that hold multiple SCS certifications (for example, Chain-of-Custody and Indoor Air Quality or Recycled Content). Please ask your sales associate about other types of certifications that might benefit your company.

How long does the Chain-of-Custody certification process take?
At SCS, customer service and responsiveness is a priority. We typically are able to send our auditors to your facility, provide you with an audit report, and make a certification decision within 6 to 8 weeks of starting the project. Larger and more complex projects may take longer.

How long is my Chain-of-Custody certificate valid?
A Chain-of-Custody Certificate is valid for five years. Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain your certificate.

Visit the SFI database here
1. Search for SFI CoC Certificates at sfidatabase.org/search/search-coc.
2. Select “SCS Global Services” as the Certification Body to see our certificate holders.

Search for SFI Fiber Sourcing Certificates at sfidatabase.org/search/search-fiber-certs.
Select “SCS Global Services” as the Certification Body to see our certificate holders.

Search for SFI Certified Sourcing Certificates at sfidatabase.org/search/search-certified-sourcing
Select “SCS Global Services” as the Certification Body to see our certificate holders.

File Name Document
SCS International Responsible Forestry Certification – Qualifications Profile English
SFI Certification Requirements Visit Site
Why Work with SCS? English

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Forestry Business Group