The Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit whose stated purpose is to promote sustainable and responsible management of the forests of the world.
Their members include forest managers and owners who are concerned about sustainable forestry practices, as well as other companies that play a role in the wood and timber supply chain – loggers, processors, manufacturers and distributors. Environmental NGOs are also significant members of the FSC.
FSC members decide upon the standards and best practices for the forestry, and they arrive at these via consensus. The FSC offer various certificates to entities involved in the forestry arena, and there are three types of certification available.
The first is Forest Management Certification, available to forest owners and managers. It is awarded when the steward of the forest can prove “good stewardship” – i.e. when they can demonstrate processes for ensuring high conservation value, upholding indigenous people’s rights, and having actions in place to maintain and restore the ecosystem.
The second certificate available is Chain of Custody Certification. It is awarded to companies involved in the wood supply chain, from forest to finished product. The certificate is awarded based to companies that can demonstrate effective tracking processes for their wood sourcing and show a clear paper trail that demonstrates the wood comes from a FSC-certified forest.
The Controlled Wood Certification is available to companies that make products from a mix of FSC and non-FSC wood. It’s awarded to companies that can demonstrate processes for ensuring that their non-certified wood doesn’t originate from illegal sources or conserved forests.
Companies that have FSC certification are allowed the privilege of putting the FSC trademark on their products, to signal their environmental responsibility to consumers.
In the UK, FSC certification is obtained from an accredited certification body, which can perform an audit to assess eligibility. The certificates are valid for five years. FSC certification is widely associated with good levels of environmental responsibility and concern. Research also shows that certification is good for business. By displaying the FSC logo on your paperwork and website, you’ll be demonstrating your commitment to the planet. Because people are becoming ever more environmentally-focused, you’ll also be ensuring that your business is the first choice for consumers wanting to make responsible purchases. Other benefits cited by the FSC are better efficiency, better market access, increased prices and longer-term contracts.