Chain of Custody
What is a "chain of custody"?
From the forest to the final product
In order to confirm that a wood-based product originated in a legally and sustainably managed forest it is necessary to know which forest or forests it was sourced from. In most cases there are several stages between the original forest and the final product.
Figure 1. A simple supply chain, from forest to supplier.
For example, the wood in a piece of wooden furniture such as a desk starts out as a tree which is cut and sold to a sawmill. Here it is cut into planks and dried before being sold to a furniture factory. The desk is made in the factory and then sold to a furniture supplier who finally supplies the table to the end user. This is the supply chain and is shown schematically in Figure 1.
In reality, the supply chain is likely to be much more complex because there are often several suppliers at each stage in the chain: every sawmill buys logs from several forests, each furniture factory buys wood from several sawmills and the supplier buys furniture from several factories. Thus, the furniture supplied by a single furniture supplier might contain wood from tens or even hundreds of different forests.