FSC Certification Is Part of the Solution

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You will find that many products in our catalog are FSC certified. FSC stands for The Forest Stewardship Council. The web page for the FSC is fsc.org. FSC Certifications works outside of state regulations, and is an example of a non-state market driven environmental governance. This means that it uses the market place to drive the sustainable management of forests. The FSC Label is an example of the use of public purchasing power to create shifts in industry and regulate the negative environmental impacts of deforestation. When you purchase products that have the FSC label you are contributing to the solution of deforestation.

The FSC Label 'works' by providing an incentive for responsible forestry in the market place. It offers manufacturers a competitive advantage and thereby increases market access to new markets and maintains access to existing ones.

Mission and Vision

Protecting forests for future generations

On FSC web site you will see that their mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world's forests. In September 2012, some 165 million hectares were certified to FSC's Principles and Criteria in 80 countries. Around 24,000 FSC Chain of Custody certificates were active in 107 countries.. The FSC website has statistics on regional distributions, ownership and forest type and numbers of FSC certificates . representing all valid forest management and chain of custody certificates. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international not for-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world's forests. Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, certification and labeling of forest products. The organization aims to "provide businesses and consumers with a economic tool to influence how forests worldwide are managed. FSC's mission is to "promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests

This mission is implemented through a Global Strategy with five Goals:

  1. Advancing globally responsible forest management.
  2. Ensure equitable access to the benefits of FSC systems.
  3. Ensure integrity, credibility and transparency of the FSC system.
  4. Create business value for products from FSC certified forests.
  5. Strengthen the global network to deliver on goals 1 through 4.

The Forest Stewardship Council represents a global shift from government to governance and its creation is a primary example of the use of market and economic factors to create movement on a global environmental issue. The evolving historical context in which the FSC was formed is theorized to reflect a much broader skepticism towards state power and as a consequence a shift away from traditional state-centric forms of regulation. That said, although the FSC transcends national boundaries, the state continues to play a part in the regulatory landscape of the domestic forest and as such the FSC must develop appropriate domestic governance to reflect this.

FSC Chain of Custody certification as a control

At the heart of the FSC system is the FSC Chain of Custody. It allows the tracking of FSC certified material from the forest to the consumer. It is a method by which companies can show their commitment to the environment and responsible forest management. Only companies that have FSC chain of custody certification are allowed to use the FSC trademarks and labels to promote their products. The FSC label therefore provides a link between responsible production and responsible consumption and helps the consumer to make socially and environmentally responsible buying decisions.

FSC has around 850 members. The range of member organizations illustrates the diversity of support for FSC. Members include

  • Several international NGOs such as the World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace and Oxfam/NOVIB;
  • Smaller, national NGOs, often with a conservation or environmental focus, such as the US Wildlife Conservation Society, the Spanish Ornithological Society and Cameroon Environmental Watch;
  • Civil society organizations with a community development focus, such as the Foundation for People and Community Development (Papua New Guinea) and the Mountain Association or Community Development (USA);
  • Forestry-focused research organizations, such as the Forestry Science and Research Institute (Brazil);
  • Certification organizations, such as KPMG Forest Certification Solutions (Canada) and Wood Certification Ltd (India);
  • Private companies in the forestry, timber and paper industries, such as Mondi (South Africa) Sun Wood Industries (Thailand) and IKEA (Sweden);
  • Trade unions and workers' associations, such as the Latvian Wood Branch Trade Union and the Swedish Forest and Wood Trade Union.

The next time you are making purchase and you have an opportunity to choose FSC certified products you have an opportunity to support environmental stewardship for future generations to come.

Wikipedia and FSC.org were sources for this article