Since its inception in 1994, the FSC has established itself as the global overseer of environmental and social issues in forestry. FSC Certification is internationally recognized between governments, private industry and discerning consumers of wood products. A universal benefit of all FSC certifications is the clear message they broadcast about the certified party. FSC certifications show that companies and managers are actively concerned with the welfare of the world’s forests, and that they are committed to actions aligned with that.
There are of course specific benefits, particular to each kind of certificate offered by the Forest Stewardship Council for those obtaining the certifications.
Forest Management Certification allows stewards of forests the chance to bring their operation up to an internationally recognized standard for environmental and social forestry management. Certification will open up access for forest owners and managers to the global demand for FSC-certified products. Consumers are increasingly concerned about where their wood comes from, and how it was obtained.
Chain of Custody Certification is intended for companies which operate in the timber and wood supply chain. Again, these companies need certification if they want to access environmentally and socially aware markets. Certification is customized to the company’s location and scale of operations – they can choose single or multi-site certification, which allows them to demonstrate that their operations make use of FSC-certified wood; however their operational base is structured.
The Controlled Wood Certification is a way for companies to make use of a mix of FSC-certified wood and wood from other sources. It allows the company a degree of flexibility in wood sourcing, while still helping them ensure that their wood is sourced responsibly. Companies utilizing controlled wood are allowed to put the ‘FSC-Mixed’ label on their products, and use the prestigious FSC trademark.
The standards for certification are constantly evolving, and the FSC creates and maintains them using consensus from important players in the forestry industries. Once awarded, certificate holders can be confident that they’ve received an accolade highly valued by relevant companies and consumers.
The Scheme Works Better Than Others
Independent analysis has been conducted that compared the FSC scheme to others that were available in the marketplace. Whilst alternative schemes were seen to make valuable contributions to environmental change, it was felt that the FSC standard was the most robust in terms of promoting ethical forestry. The report made a particular mention of its Controlled Wood policy, which in part ensures that timber is not sourced illegally.
It Doesn’t Just Benefit Businesses
Whilst businesses use the FSC Scheme to improve processes, training, and encourage new customers to buy their products or services, they can also rest safe in the knowledge that they’ll be helping to:
1. Prevent the creation of trees that are genetically modified
2. Protect and conserve the world’s forests
3. Safeguard the indigenous peoples who live in and/or rely on the world’s forests
4. Stop the use of highly damaging pesticides
It is for these reasons that it is backed by some of the biggest environmental groups and charities – including the WWF, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust. That such high-profile names are willing to lend their support to the scheme is a form of verification in itself, clearly demonstrating to businesses and organisations that this is a scheme that produces results.