Brands and forest product buyers with corporate sustainability objectives want to do their best to ensure their purchasing decisions are ethically and ecologically responsible.
In today’s competitive marketplace, no one wants their product or corporate image associated with species extinction, illegal logging, habitat destruction or the trampling of aboriginal and community rights.
Purchasing certified forest products is a key item in the sustainability portfolio, offering varying degrees of assurance of responsible harvesting and respectful practices depending on the certification scheme.
The critical factor to know is that not all certifications are alike.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label carries a much greater degree of assurance than that of other certification schemes. Here’s why.
FSC is the best choice
The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent, third party certification scheme that audits on-the-ground logging operations according to ten international principles and criteria. Studies consistently show that the rigour of FSC certification outstrips other certification programs. An FSC label ensures chain-of-custody tracking, transparency of management plans, protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and strict limits on the conversion of natural forest lands.
The FSC is grounded in science-based decision making and recognition of regional differences in ecosystem types. FSC certification assures buyers that habitat values have been considered, pesticide use subject to strict limitations, other forest uses and values are acknowledged and high conservation value forests taken into account.
In addition, FSC governing bodies are comprised of three ‘chambers’: economic, social and environmental. The views and values of all three chambers are taken into consideration when setting standards for specific ecosystems, striving for balance between the needs and objectives of the forest industry with those of forest product buyers, indigenous people, communities, other stakeholders and the forest ecosystems themselves. FSC also consistently out-performs the other primary certification systems in the way that the standards are audited with forest managers.
These features along with the rigour that FSC standards bring to on-the-ground operations, leads to FSC being the only international certification scheme that is recognized by Canopy and a broad array of other environmental and social organizations as a measure of ecologically sustainable logging.
Canopy sees FSC as part of the solution for forest conservation globally, along with conservation planning, prioritizing products with recycled fiber content and the development of non-wood alternatives. FSC is one mechanism to ensure a secure supply of environmentally improved forest products.