When the idea for our TROBOLO® separation toilets was born a few years ago, some basic principles were particularly important to us. For example, the conceptual development of the TROBOLO® dry toilets focused in particular on waterless and chemical-free operation as well as ensuring the highest possible degree of self-sufficiency. Sustainability therefore naturally became anchored in the TROBOLO® concept. Ultimately, however, our motivation was to grow into a sustainable company and offer a product on the market that meets the highest sustainability standards not only in its functionality, but along the entire value chain. Particularly important to us were the ecological origin of our raw materials, socially acceptable working practices at our manufacturing sites and the ability to maintain our own high ethical standards in all areas.
What is behind the FSC® label?
The Forest Stewardship Council® – FSC® for short – is an independent, non-profit NGO that was founded in 1993 in Rio de Janeiro and now has local task groups in over 80 countries worldwide.
The FSC® pursues the equally ambitious and demanding objectives of protecting forests around the world and thus preserving them for future generations. To this end, the organisation has developed comprehensive standards and, based on these, a certification system for forestry and its products. These standards contain a total of ten basic principles and 56 additional indicators, which are used to assess the environmental, social and economic viability of forest management. In 2017, approximately 90 million hectares of forest in Europe – including Russia – were FSC® certified. This corresponds to almost nine times the forest area of Germany. Worldwide, almost 200 million hectares of forest are FSC®-certified. The amount harvested from these forests corresponds to about 16% of the global forest timber market.
Due to the high degree of overlap that exists between this sustainability policy of the FSC®, which spreads over several levels, and our own standards and company philosophy at TROBOLO®, successful FSC® certification was a desirable goal for us. As an FSC®-certified company, we commit ourselves, in accordance with the globally standardized basic principles of the FSC®, to comply with applicable laws and regulations and to maintain and improve the economic situation of all employees of the respective forestry company. At the same time, TROBOLO® undertakes to maintain and improve the social and ecological performance of forests in the long term, and to avoid or remedy any negative effects on the environment, should they occur.
In concrete terms, this means that we guarantee that the manufacture of the wooden materials we use does not result in any damage to high-value nature conservation interests, and that we expressly refrain from using wood from illegal logging. In addition, we have implemented a comprehensive internal control system in order to guarantee FSC® standards and maintain detailed and always up-to-date records of our suppliers in order to be able to check their FSC® certification with regard to scope and validity.
Although only a few of the basic principles for sustainable forest management defined by the FSC® are mentioned here, they provide an interesting insight into the working methods and standards of the organisation, as well as the services to be provided by certified companies.
Detailed information on FSC® and its basic principles can be found on the organisation’s homepage at: https://fsc.org/en/page/about-us
 Source: FSC Chain of Custody brochure. p.4. Available at: https://www.fsc-deutschland.de/preview.fsc-chain-of-custody-broschre.a-562.pdf
How exactly does the FSC® certification system work?
It is not sufficient to focus solely on timber production in order to control and designate responsible and sustainable forest management practices. After all, what value does a timber that has been demonstrably produced under ecologically sustainable and socially beneficial conditions have if it is further processed along with other wood materials that may have been produced under less desirable circumstances? For this reason, the FSC® has developed two certification models, which enable complete control and tracking of certified wood and paper, from selection of the trees to be felled in the forest, all the way to the finished end product.
Forestry certificates are issued to forest owners who operate their forest areas in accordance with FSC® principles and thus ensure that their forests are managed according to ecological and social guidelines. Among other things, forest owners undertake to divide their forest into subareas. Only a certain number of trees are felled from these areas. As soon as the ecologically justifiable quantity is reached, timber is obtained from another area and the forest is given sufficient time to recover.
Chain of Custody Certificates
Chain of Custody (CoC) certificates are issued to manufacturers and dealers of FSC®-certified wood and paper products. According to FSC® information, a product chain describes “the path taken by products from the forest or, in the case of recycled materials, from the time of recovery“. The path ends at the point at which the product is sold for the last time with an FSC® statement or becomes a finished product with an FSC® statement.“ In order for the end product to finally bear and use the FSC® seal, it must be proven that all sections of the product chain are certified according to the FSC® standard. This means that each company in the product chain must develop and implement an internal process to ensure that FSC®-certified materials remain identifiable at all times and that there is no improper mixing, swapping or mis-declaration of materials.
 Source: FSC Chain of Custody brochure, p. 9. Available at: https://www.fsc-deutschland.de/preview.fsc-chain-of-custody-broschre.a-562.pdf
Forest operators, processing companies or traders who aim for an FSC® award must therefore guarantee compliance with FSC® guidelines through their quality management processes. In order to check this, FSC® deliberately refrains from carrying out its own checks, but instead commissions and authorises independent certification bodies, which annually visit the FSC® forestry or processing plant or the FSC® dealer, to ensure that FSC® standards are implemented and adhered to. The credibility of the inspecting certification bodies is also ensured through monitoring by an international accreditation body. In addition, the FSC® database contains constantly updated, comprehensive statements on the validity and scope of the FSC® certificates of the respective certificate holder, which can be viewed by anyone at any time.
Thanks to various independent inspection bodies, a quality assurance standard is achieved that is both transparent and credible, to which both the certified companies and the FSC® itself are committed, thus making the FSC® label an attractive quality seal.
What do the various FSC® labels mean?
FSC®-certified products are given a label in order to enable the end consumer to actively choose a product that has been produced in responsible forestry. This provides concrete information about the origin and composition of the material used.
FSC® 100%: The 100% label identifies products whose materials originate solely from FSC®-certified and thus exemplarily managed forests. This label is therefore mostly found on solid wood products such as sawn timber or furniture. We at TROBOLO® have decided to only use wood that has been awarded the FSC® 100% label.
FSC® Recycled: The Recycled Label identifies products that contain only recycled material, such as paper.
FSC® Mix: This label stands for products that use materials from FSC®-certified forests and recycled materials, but which also include materials from other sources – Controlled Wood. Controlled Wood refers to forest management companies whose code of conduct is not as strict as that of the FSC®, but which is nonetheless demanding and does not, for example, use illegally harvested wood or timber originating from the conversion of natural forests into plantations. For a product to be allowed to use the FSC® Mix label, the proportion of recycled material and FSC®-certified wood must be at least 70%.
The FSC® labels shown here refer only to those product components that originate from forests. Other materials used in the manufacture of a product, such as plastic, are excluded from the label.
Further information on this can be found under:
How do we guarantee compliance with the FSC® standards at TROBOLO®?
As an FSC®-certified company, we strive to meet and exceed all requirements of the FSC® standard and our customers at all times. In keeping with this philosophy, TROBOLO® is committed to economic, ecological, social and socially responsible corporate management.
In order to guarantee the implementation of all FSC® standards, we have developed a comprehensive catalogue of measures that extends across all areas of the company and will be briefly described below.
Where do we source our materials from?
So far as the sourcing of our products is concerned, we declare that we do not initiate, support or endorse any of the following activities that are incompatible with FSC® standards:
- Illegal logging or trade in illegal timber or other forest products
- Violation of civil and other traditional rights in the course of forest management
- Destruction of high-value natural assets in the course of forest management
- More conversion of forests into plantations or other (non-forest) types of land use
- Introduction of genetically modified organisms into forestry operations
All TROBOLO® employees are trained annually. New employees are introduced to the topic by the product chain manager if their area of responsibility is FSC®-relevant. Participation in the training courses is documented using a training protocol. In terms of content, these training measures deal with the basics of FSC® certification, use of the FSC® logo, the FSC® transfer system and any particularities resulting from active implementation of FSC® standards in the areas of purchasing and goods acceptance.
The processes of internal documentation represent an important part of the system of economic and responsible corporate management. For this reason, all FSC®-relevant documents are systematically archived and kept for at least five years. This includes in particular invoices and delivery notes, lists of sales with FSC® materials and approvals of FSC® trademarks.
In order to guarantee compliance with FSC® standards, an internal control authority and control policy is necessary. For this purpose, the processes of ordering, receiving goods, shipping and invoicing are regularly checked by the product chain representative. He also checks the current inventory, the compliant use of the FSC® logo and the material balance, and also checks the correctness of FSC® statements in the inventory if there are indications of irregularities.
We treat all complaints with the utmost conscientiousness and thoroughness. All complaints reaching us are recorded, entered in a complaint list and processed accordingly. This process includes confirmation of the complaint received within two days and the detailed investigation of the facts, which takes a maximum of three months. In the case of justified complaints, management is immediately informed of the reason for the complaint and the measures taken, and these are then implemented promptly. In addition, all complaints are evaluated once a year in order to identify and correct systemic weaknesses. If products that do not comply with FSC® are identified during internal inspections, they are immediately banned from use and processing and thus removed from the production chain.
Procurement of materials and supplier verification
We at TROBOLO® always maintain up-to-date records of our suppliers, including names, certificate codes and delivered materials. Furthermore, we regularly check the validity and scope of certificates of our FSC®-certified suppliers to ensure that any changes affecting the availability and authenticity of the delivered products are verified.
Materials delivered to us are compared with the sales and delivery documents of the suppliers at the time of acceptance of the goods. In this way, we ensure that the material type and quantity correspond to the delivery documents, that the correct FSC statement is given and that the supplier’s FSC® product chain or FSC® Controlled Wood code is also given.
Thus we not only subject our own company to strict controls, but also place high demands on our suppliers. In this way we not only achieve full compliance with the FSC® standards, but also actively initiate additional quality improvements at every stage of the product chain.
The Forest Stewardship Council® has developed a comprehensive system to promote ecological, sustainable and socially beneficial forest management. Through the introduction of the FSC® certification models, which, due to the award of forest and product chain certificates, involve not only the relevant forestry operations but also the producers and traders of FSC®-certified timber, the FSC® has succeeded in establishing a globally recognised sustainability label. Thanks to a comprehensive control levy or transfer to independent testing bodies and the ability to identify the certificate statement of a product and its validity by its code number, the FSC® system is also characterized by maximum transparency, which ultimately gives the FSC® label a particularly high degree of credibility.
The concept of sustainability has shaped our corporate philosophy since day 1 and we are proud to be able to prove with the FSC® seal that both our company and our products contribute to sustainable development.
We look forward to being able to offer you our familiar and sustainable TROBOLO® quality in the future, which has now also gained official recognition.