The everyday consumer is not able to tell the difference at a glance. However, every consumer can check the origin of the material from certificates and seals of authenticity.
Official seals, as for example those of the FSC or PEFC, guarantee the sustainable management of the area by the exclusion of chemicals, adherence to social standards by the participants and maintaining the local infrastructure. The most familiar and also most important seal is the international eco-label of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is an initiative of all major conservation organisations such as Greenpeace, BUND, WWF, Nabu, and signifies timber and fibre products from environmentally friendly, sustainable and certified forest management.
On the basis of the timber trade regulation introduced in March 2013 every timber import must be accompanied by a certificate of origin. A consumer should be able to discern the legality of the timber by checking the proof-of-origin documents.