In 2014 a new category was recognised in Australian Standard AS 4707 – ‘Chain of Custody, Controlled Sources’.

Controlled Sources are wood and wood products which, although not certified under either the Australian Standards for Forest Management (AS 4708), Chain of Custody (AS 4707) or the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) system, have undergone a rigorous due diligence assessment to ensure that the material does not originate from controversial sources.

These controversial sources include:

  • timber of illegal origin
  • timber harvested in contravention of local and international forestry legislation
  • timber extracted without payment of appropriate taxes and royalties
  • timber extracted without the knowledge or permission of land owners
  • genetically modified timber
  • timber resulting from the conversion of certified forest to other land uses.

AS 4707 provides a due diligence assessment process which allows otherwise uncertified wood and wood products to be assessed and be classified as Controlled Source where it is free from controversial factors.

The due diligence process includes assessments to ensure compliance with local, national or international legislation applying to forest-related activities, in particular the following:

  • Legality of forest operations, harvesting, conservation and biodiversity management
  • Management of areas with high environmental and cultural values
  • Protection of endangered species
  • Health and labour issues relating to forest workers
  • Indigenous people’s property, tenure and use rights
  • Third party property, tenure and use rights
  • Payment of taxes and royalties
  • Compliance with legislation of the country of harvest relating to trade and customs
  • The wood or wood product is not derived from genetically modified forest organisms
  • Native forest has not been converted to other land users including plantations.

Where wood and wood products are assessed and found to be free of the indicators for controversial sources, the product can be classified as a Responsible Wood Controlled Source Material.

Like other aspects of the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme, the rigorous and robust due diligence process is audited by JAS-ANZ accredited certified bodies to provide independent validation that the product assessment and due diligence processes are in place, are effective, and the results of assessments are transparent and records maintained.

This independent audit process provides an extremely high level of confidence to purchasers of Controlled Source material that it is of legal origin and from non-controversial sources.

Benefits of Responsible Wood Controlled Source material are:

The due diligence system specified in the PEFC International Chain of Custody Standard and Australian Standard AS4707 is consistent with due diligence requirements for domestic processors and importers required under the federal government’s illegal logging legislation.   Independently audited due diligence applied to Controlled Source materials provides confidence to consumers they are supporting products that are low risk of originating from controversial sources.

A formal claim for Controlled Source material can be made under a chain of custody management system. This allows products to be identified as Controlled Source and the claim to be passed through the supply chain on endorsed documentation.

The due diligence process is non-restrictive and can be implemented by any link in the supply chain. This includes forest growers, forest managers, processors, importers or merchants. For example, an importer could assess an overseas supplier, or a domestic processor could assess their non-certified supplier of wood and make verifiable claims of legality.

Controlled Source material can be mixed with certified materials in such products as paper or wood panels, where it is common for input materials to originate from different sources. For products carrying the Responsible Wood brand, the certified component can be no less than 70 per cent and the controlled source component no greater than 30 per cent.

There are some unique species and products for which there is no certified supplier. Applying due diligence process and Controlled Source assessment ensures that such products will be low risk of originating from controversial operations and sources.

For further information about the use of PEFC certification under the legislation’s due diligence requirements, please refer to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ illegal logging pages: