FSC® Requirements

Flagge Deutschlands

The FSC Standard

The FSC Standard was established in 1994 as the result of a political process and consists of 10 principals and 56 criteria. This standard is the worldwide valid basis for the certification of forest management and includes minimum requirements which each certified forest management organization has to comply with.

Regional Adaption

As forests vary in different regions, FSC provides a regional adaption process for concretizing these requirements.
For this adaption, there are two alternatives:
  1. In those countries with a national FSC working group, the working group is responsible for the adaption. According to a defined procedure, additional indicators and verifiers (proof of compliance with an indicator) are added and consulted with all stakeholders on national level. The result is a draft of the national standard which has to be approved by FSC International. As the case may be, additional adjustments have to be made before a national standard will be approved and therefore, the development of a national standard may last several years. All approved national standards are available online on the website of FSC International. For example, for Germany, a national standard exists, but for Switzerland not yet.
  2. In countries without a national FSC working group or an approved national standard, the certification body is responsible for the development of the standard. As each certification body has to present its own standard to FSC for approval, countries with no approved FSC standard may have slightly different standards if several certification bodies are involved.

SLIMF: Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests

In addition to the different national standards, FSC offers especially for small forest organizations a simplified standard (SLIMF - Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests) which has to be developed individually according to the regional context. Modifications can be applied to some requirements concerning the requested documentation for individual criteria as well as the total number of requirements at all. These SLIMF guidelines exist in parallel to national standards and can be applied to organizations with a size of less than 100 - 1000 hectares. The national working groups are in the position to define the exact limit within the scope of this default value, for example in Germany SLIMF guidelines can only be applied for organizations with up to 100 hectares. Furthermore, some certification procedures are simplified for these smallholders.

Group Certification

The best alternative for a simplified certification of smallholders is, however, the group certification. By merging several organizations to a larger unit a joint certificate can be obtained. This alternative is especially interesting for already existing cooperation like for example cooperatives, forest management associations or community forests which already have a central administration for their members at their disposal. The requirements for a group certification are stipulated in an additional standard.
The most important requirements for a group certification are as follows:
  • A common management handbook for the organization of the group.
  • Guidelines for the incorporation and exclusion of members.
  • Implementation of internal audits by the group management.
  • Centralized administration of the data of group members.
  • Legally binding member contracts including the obligation to comply with the requirements of FSC.

Within the group each individual member has to comply with all FSC requirements; an owner-crossing compensation is not allowed. The reduced requirements of SLIMF guidelines can, however, be applied within a group if the maximum size is given.

More information for Germany and Switzerland

For the German speaking area the national FSC working groups in Germany and Switzerland offer more detailed information.


Department of Forestry & Timber
Fon +41 (0) 71 626 0 628 and
        +49 (0) 7531 584 9 130
forest@ecocert.com (FM)
wood&paper@ecocert.com (COC)

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