Simple steps to set up Self-Approval under the new FSC Trademark Standard

Trademark standard crop

What is different in the new FSC Trademark Standard? Setting up a Self-Approval System for FSC Trademarks under FSC-STD-50-001(V2-0)

It is something that is onerous for both Certificate Holders and Certification Bodies of FSC, Certificate Holders under both FSC and PEFC have had to send every single logo placement or use to their Certification Body for approval prior to using it. This causes delays while waiting for the turnaround and Certification Bodies have led the charge for a new, cost-effective and more simple way, having to allocate resources to conduct the approvals for their clients.

Following a couple of related motions at a few successive General Assemblies, FSC now has the ability for Certificate Holders to put in place a process to properly manage the logo use and application internally without having to submit all intended uses to their Certification Body for approval. This is a cornerstone of what is the first major review of the Trademark Standard since 2010.

There are a few other changes that have also been brought about by the new standard too. There is now a handy guide of how to describe products and claims located in Annex C, reduced size requirements so that they can be included on smaller items, and more flexibility in the placement on-product.

For those who are really into the standards, FSC has published a handy crosswalk that compares the two standards. There is also a quick guide to help you brush up before your next audit. This is available together with the new standard online.

How do I set up Self-Approval?

But for those who don’t want to delve into the detail, here are the steps you need to take in order to get moving on this:

  1. Make sure there is a person allocated within your organisation that knows the trademark use requirements of the new standard inside and out. Call this person a ‘Trademark Controller’. You should also have generated a good track record with your Certification Body for compliance with the previous standard to enable them to approve your system of self-management.
  2. If you have a group or multi-site certificate, make sure that this system is known to all members of the group and is strictly controlled;
  3. Document in your procedures how you will control the use of the FSC trademarks internally and train everyone concerned in the procedure, both now and on commencement of new personnel;
  4. Have your historical records ready and a place to file new approved uses;
  5. Submit your internal process to your Certification Body that conducts your annual audits for approval.

Once approved, you can follow your own internal process and reduce the time it takes to get your certified product or advertising materials to market.

While you’re there, ensure you update your procedures to reference the correct standard, and also update your Chain of Custody Standard reference.

Users of the Hikari System of management for FSC/PEFC Certification will soon be sent a list of amendments to ensure their system is kept up to date and they can easily comply with self-approval. For more information on the Hikari System, visit our website or email Natalie on

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