Chain of Custody Standard

Chain of custody for forest products

The Chain of Custody Standard (AS 4707) provides all organisations in the wood or forest products certification chain with the minimum criteria and requirements to implement a credible system for the tracking of wood or forest products originating from certified forests through all phases of ownership, transportation and manufacturing to the end consumer.

Chain of Custody (CoC) tracks a wood or forest product from its origin in a certified forest through it its end use by the consumer. CoC covers all intermedia steps such as harvesting, transportation, primary and secondary processing, manufacturing, re-manufacturing, distribution and sales. CoC is an inventory control system that provides a quality assurance standard.

This CoC standard is intended for voluntary application by any organisation that seeks to assure its customers that the certified wood and forest products they buy are sourced from a certified forest. Its application will assist in ensuring or delivering access to domestic and international markets that seek assurances on the origin of wood or forest products from sustainably managed forests. With the increasing availability of recycled wood based raw material in the marketplace, this CoC standard also allows organisations utilising virgin and recycled raw material to participate in CoC certification of mixed products.

Accredited, independent, third-party certification against this CoC standard provides a clear statement that wood and forest products have been produced, in accordance with a set of clearly defined performance requirements, from certified forests that demonstrate sustainable forest management.

AS 4707:2014 was published 31 July 2014 and can be used for certification from that date.

Certification bodies can continue to issue certificates against AS 4707:2006 until 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015 all new chain of custody certificates must be issued against AS 4707:2014.

Existing certified clients may choose for their next scheduled audit, following the publication of AS 4707:2014, to be audited against either AS 4707:2014 or AS 4707:2006.  Transition from AS 4707:2006 or AS 4707:2014 may occur during a surveillance audit. If the client chooses to be audited to AS 4707:2006 a transition plan must be discussed with the audit team and described in the audit report.

All clients should comply with AS 4707:2014 Australian Standard® Chain of custody for forest products by 31 December 2015.

AFS Ltd has not published any guidance on the implementation of AS 4707:2014. However, there are substantial similarities between AS 4707:2014 and the PEFC Chain of Custody Standard PEFC ST 2002:2013 and the PEFC has issued Chain of Custody of Forest-Based Products - Guidance for Use (PEFC GD 2001:2014).