Private rule-making features prominently on the research agenda of International Relations scholars today. The field of forest politics in particular has proven to be a lively arena for experimenting with novel policies (for example, third party certification and labeling) and procedures (for example, power-sharing in stakeholder bodies). This article focuses on the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), one of the earliest and most institutionalized private certification schemes, in order to assess the role and relevance of accountability politics for global forest governance. Specifically, we ask three related questions: first, what role did a deepening accountability crisis and the resulting reconstruction of accountability play in the formation of the FSC? Second, how is accountability organized within the FSC? And finally, what accountability outcomes emerge as a result of the FSC’s policies and operations? The article closes with some reflections about the limitations of private-based accountability in global environmental politics.