From now on, FSC certificate holders will have more graphic freedom when they wish to use the FSC logo or labels.
FSC has released an updated version of its standard for certificate holders’ use of the FSC trademarks (FSC-STD-50-001 version 1-2). The changes are in line with wishes expressed by numerous FSC certificate holders, especially among the graphic industries.
The standard remains very similar to the previous version, except for the introduction of increased flexibility. The requirements have been softened on the following points:
- The border around the on-product label may now be omitted (section 10.2 and 10.2.1 in the revised standard)
- Use of the FSC logo at only 7 mm in height (compared to the normal minimum size of 10 mm) is accepted for small materials below certain size limits (11.8.1);
- FSC has issued a standard permission to use the mini-label on packages and print materials below certain size limits (3.3.1);
- Certification bodies can now grant permission to place the label and logo on patterned or photographic ‘non-disruptive’ backgrounds (10.14).
These changes meet widespread demands for flexibility among certificate holders, and will most certainly be welcomed by the users.
The standard has also been updated with important clarifications that will reduce the processing time for trademark requests.
The FSC logo used on a photographic background at www.fsc.dk
Not all wishes expressed by certificate holders have been granted. For example, some have urged for the option to include several languages in the mini-label, in cases where there is no space for the full multi-language label. This option remains excluded.
The revised standard is effective immediately and replaces the previous version of the same standard (FSC-STD-50-001 version 1-1). Since the new version softens existing restrictions and does not introduce major new restrictions, certificate holders should have no problems to ensure compliance.
Extension of the old trademark requirements
FSC has also extended the deadline for phasing out the old trademark standards (FSC-STD-40-201 & FSC-TMK-50-201) until 1 July 2011. Companies are thus not required to switch from the old standard on all materials until this date. Physical materials such as labelled products or printed publications, which have been approved under the old trademark requirements prior to this date, can continue to be distributed for as long as they remain in stock.
Involving the users
This is the second time that FSC revises its new trademark standard, launched on the 5th of January 2010. The standard has not been subject to proper public consultation at any point.
According to FSC, this second revision was carried out “given the strong feedback received from stakeholders”. This feedback could have been collected as part of a more normal consultation process, prior to finalizing and publishing the standard in the first place.
We do welcome the revised standard, as it will make life easier for our FSC certified customers. However, we encourage FSC to carry out public consultation allowing all trademark users to provide feedback the next time these rules are undergoing revision. It is beyond doubt the single FSC standard that is most actively used and consulted on a daily basis.