Third-party Forest Certification is a process by which a collection of concerned groups get together and establish agreements as to standards of forest management and then use an independent company to inspect forests to these standards. The concerned groups generally consist of timberland owners, forest products companies and other manufacturers of wooden items, environmental and conservation organizations, local social organizations concerned with the welfare of the people living in and around the forest and in some cases government agencies. These groups meet to establish the forest certification standards and evaluate and determine which organizations will be responsible for inspecting forests to these standards. A forest that passes this inspection is considered to be certified to the standards of the governing body and thus a certified forest. This means that the trees cut to logs in a certified forest will produce certified wood. However, for consumers to be certain that the wooden products they buy in the store or build their home with are “certified” it must be proven that the wood in those products was indeed produced from certified logs. This requires a further process of Chain of Custody certification all the way through the various manufacturing steps starting with the sawmill where lumber is produced, on to the re-manufacturing and finished goods factory which also is subject to independent third-party inspections. When the factories pass these inspections they earn the right to market their products as being produced from certified wood from certified forests. The most well accepted of these worldwide certification programs is the Forest Stewardship Council®(FSC-C010858) or FSC®. An increasing number of wood and paper products each year qualify for FSC certification. ForestChoice pencils were the first pencils in the world to achieve FSC certification and were among the very first of all consumer products to be FSC certified. However, you should note that just because a product is not FSC certified does not mean that the wood used in that product was not produced from a well-managed, sustained yield forest. Not all forest land owners decide to bear the additional cost of the certification process even though their forests are managed to similar standards. Some manufacturers do not bother with the Chain of Custody even though they may be using some certified wood.