Have you ever wondered what that check-mark tree logo you see on so many products stands for? That symbol represents the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a body that ensures responsible management of the world’s forests – preventing clear cutting and unsustainable deforestation practices.
Anytime you see the FSC logo on any of the goods you purchase you can rest assured that the wood, paper or any other forest products that make up what you’re buying come from certified forests that have been evaluated by the FSC’s strict environmental standards.
The Forest Stewardship Council is the only forest certification board of its kind to be recognized by major international, national and local Aboriginal, Environmental, and Social groups – including Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Canada Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), and The Sierra Club of Canada.
So how did the FSC get started?
In 1990, a group of timber users, traders, human rights and environmental organizations met to discuss the issue of deforestation and ways to help identity well-managed forests to acquire paper, wood and other forest products.
Two years later the United Nations declared a dire need for a system that certifies and accredits forests all over the world and in 1993 The Forest Stewardship Council was founded in Toronto.
The FSC worked tirelessly over the following two decades to expand their certification worldwide and by 2012 they had 850 members and over 160 million hectares of FSC-certified forests worldwide, 50 million of which are located in Canada.
There are numerous products out there that are FSC certified, to find out which companies fall into this category, you can check the online database on the Forest Stewardship Councils website.
For a business to become FSC certified, they need to get in contact with one or several third party certification bodies. These certifiers operate nationally and have auditors located all over the country. The next step is to apply to and sign an agreement with one of these bodies, and a representative completes an on-site audit to see if your company qualifies for FSC certification. Yearly audits then take place to see if your business is still in compliance with FSC standards, and renewal of the certificate takes place every five years.
The effects of deforestation have a massive impact on our environment. For example, 7 million acres of forest are burned in the US, 80,000 acres of forest are lost every day, 15 billion trees are cut down each year, and 50,000 species disappear. Becoming certified by the Forest Stewardship Council is a great way to show your company’s commitment to the healthy management of forestry products and recycled fibers.