Certification of forest management through the Forest Stewardship Council started in the 1990s, and focused on timber. Considerable work on the part of NGOs, communities, the private sector, researchers and governments has resulted in incipient certification of NTFPs, both by industries and communities. In the tropics, Brazil has had an important leadership role in this process, both in the development and adaptation of the Forest Stewardship Council system to this purpose and to increase the accessibility of FSC certification for small holders. In this paper we review the history of this process, present cases of certification in Brazil, and discuss their links with the private sector and public policies. Finally, we analyse the factors that have contributed to the successes and constraints of these efforts in the Brazilian context.