On May 21, 2018, The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) announced the suspension of DuChâteau’s FSC license and that of one of its vendors.
The Sierra Club brought this allegation to FSC’s attention in August 2017, which was followed up by Accreditation Services International (ASI). ASI completed a compliance assessment and the Certification Bodies (auditors) also did follow up audits on both companies (B & M Noble Co. dba DuChateau and Royalton and Comersys, LLC and Comfortably Numb LLC and Houses of the Holy LLC and their Chinese supplier, Zhejiang Yuhua Timber Co., Ltd) and also checked transactions between these two CHs (CH = certified companies).
The result is that ASI found both companies were involved in false claims so FSC suspended both Certificate Holders’ trademark license agreements on Monday, May 21. ASI conducted transaction verification and found a significant mismatch in the volume of certified material claimed sold by Yuhua to the volume of the same product claimed as purchased by DuChâteau. The volume claimed as sold was much less than the volume claimed as purchased. The mismatched volume was packaged by Yuhua with an FSC label on-product and sold as FSC 100% certified flooring by DuChâteau.
“We were recently notified of an incompliance with one of FSC’s many regulations, which led to the suspension. This occurred in the fourth quarter of 2017 when we were informed by our vendor that material previously sold to us as FSC-certified was not in fact certified. At no time did DuChâteau knowingly misrepresent FSC products or materials,” said Tom Gable, DuChâteau spokesperson.
He continued, “Prior to this suspension, DuChâteau had been in compliance with FSC regulations for eight years. After we were made aware, we moved immediately to make the appropriate adjustments in our records and inventory to ensure we are not misrepresenting any of our products or materials as FSC-certified.”
The suspension will last for a minimum of 12 months. Certification bodies will follow their procedures for closing the non-compliance, but will be reviewed by ASI and ASI will conduct compliance assessments after the auditors have completed the closure of all nonconformities and surveillance audits.
“As part of our mission, DuChateau is committed toutilizing and producing environmentally sustainable materials and we value our long-standing association with FSC. We will continue to support these sustainable practices during our suspension,” said Gable. “We will be working with the FSC and our vendors in an effort to achieve full compliance as soon as possible, with a track record that supports our reinstatement when the suspension expires in May 2019.”