Certification during Covid-19

Issued by FSC

COVID-19 Update for Certification Bodies

Given the recent developments around the global outbreak of COVID-19 and increasing travel restrictions, we have updated the derogation that allows certification bodies unable to conduct on-site audits to either postpone the audit or replace it with desk audits. Internal auditors of group and multi-site certificates will soon be given similar options.

FSC is aware that desk audits cannot fully replace on-site audits, but we see this derogation as justified in the current situation: Our priority is  to protect the health of staff of certification bodies and certificate holders, and to support global measures to minimize the spread of the virus. To mitigate the difference in audit intensity and enable us to monitor the situation, we are setting up additional reporting requirements for the CBs.

With the flexible audit options, we aim to assure certificate holders that they need not be concerned of losing their certification status because auditors and staff are unable to conduct on-site audits in these challenging times. 

Additional information can be found in the FSC derogation (FSC-DER-2020-001). This derogation is valid to 31 December.


COVID-19 Interpretation for Multi-site and Group Internal Audits


FSC has issued an interpretation for the Chain of Custody Certification of Multiple Sites standard (FSC-STD-40-003 V2-1).


The interpretation clarifies that internal audits of participating sites may be performed remotely in the case that the COVID-19 coronavirus presents a health risk or prevents traveling to the site due to travel restrictions.

It also clarifies that initial audits of new applicants cannot be replaced by remote audits, as well as an option for postponing the internal audit, and the responsibility of documenting when this interpretation is applied.

The interpretation is valid until 31 December 2020, or until withdrawn.

All normative documents can be found on the FSC Document Centre.