Structure of the certification standard

The certification standard is set out as follows:


These are the compulsory elements of the certification standard. Woodland management must meet all relevant requirements and certification bodies will check that each requirement is being met. ‘Requirements’ are generally stated as ‘shall’ implying they are compulsory elements of the certification standard.  Where ‘requirements’ are stated as ‘should’ this implies that, although not compulsory elements, evidence of conformance is checked by the certification body and will contribute to overall conformance with associated requirements.

Means of verification

These suggest the type of objective evidence – documents, actions or discussions – that the certification body should consider in order to verify that the requirement is being met. The verifiers suggested are not exclusive or exhaustive – certification bodies will not always need to use all the verifiers suggested, and may seek verification in other ways.

Guidance notes

These aim to help both the woodland owner/manager and the certification body to understand how requirements should be applied in practice. More information is provided to elaborate some requirements, the meaning of certain terms or phrases is explained, and examples of appropriate action are given.

Note 1: certification bodies shall take full account of the ‘guidance notes’ given for each ‘requirement’ when assessing conformance with the certification standard.

Note 2: the guidance note can include advice for owners/managers on related matters which are beyond the direct scope of a forest management certification standard e.g. owners/managers are advised to check the specific requirements of certification schemes in relation to chain-of-custody certification matters. Such information is provided as an advisory note only and shall not be considered by certification bodies when assessing conformance with the certification standard.