When shopping around for good quality timber for your next project, your major concerns might include the wood quality, cost, and type. But, have you ever concerned yourself about the source of the wood you’re planning to buy or already using? Do you know whether this timber was sustainably sourced or not? This is where FSC comes in.
For those who are not aware, FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council and is an organisation dedicated to ensuring the responsible management and harvesting of forests around the globe. Here’s everything you need to know about FSC-certified timber and the importance of the Forest Stewardship Council.
What is Forest Stewardship Council?
It is a non-profit organization which was founded in 1993 with the goal to protect the world’s forests and ensure sustainable management of trees. The major contribution of the FSC in forest management is to operate a certification system defining standards for eco-friendly and sustainable forestry practices.
These include protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainable harvesting of trees for timber, respecting indigenous people’s rights & ownership of forests, and stopping illegal logging to prevent deforestation.
It assigns certifications to a range of wood products, which can be identified by a special symbol. A lumber or lumber product that has the FSC symbol has most probably originated from forests managed in an environmentally-friendly and responsible manner in accordance with the FSC guidelines.
It is recommended to buy FSC-certified products to help protect forests, the environment, and the communities that depend on forests.
When purchasing timber or lumber products, you may have occasionally come across the FSC-certified symbol. It’s a checkmark with an outline of a tree.
This shows that the particular timber or product has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. But, what does it exactly mean for wood to be certified by FSC? Let’s find out.
What is FSC-Certified Wood?
FSC-certified wood refers to lumber and other forest-based products that have been sourced or manufactured responsibly using sustainable items coming from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
When a forest or plantation or wood product or manufacturing business meets FSC’s stringent regulations for environmental, social, and sustainable practices, it becomes eligible to receive FSC certification for responsible forest management.
The certification indicates that the said forest or business is managed in a way that protects or maintains biodiversity and the environment and is not adverse for endangered forest species or local communities. A sustainably managed forest is crucial for the preservation of our planet’s natural resources and the well-being of local communities.
In addition, the entity must also be following sustainable logging and harvesting practices in order to receive FSC certification.
FSC-certified wood products, like timber, furniture, paper, etc. might be not as easily available as alternatives, but choosing them over other options would ensure you support eco-friendly and sustainable forestry timber harvesting practices.
The FSC label on wood products, including the fsc logo, denotes that they come from sustainable forests and are managed and processed in accordance with the FSC guidelines.
Buying and using FSC-certified wood helps ensure that forests and wildlife are protected from illegal logging. It also helps promote ethical practices in the timber industry.
Types of FSC Certification
There are the following three types of FSC certifications:
1. FSC 100%: This FSC certification is assigned to products that are sourced from 100% responsibly-managed Forest Stewardship Council certified forests.
The FSC 100% label on a product means that the entire product or the materials used to manufacture it originates from forests that meet the FSC sustainability rules or standards.
2. FSC Recycled: This certification is given to products that are made from 100% recycled or reclaimed wood material.
Recycled material is made from used products that are processed to make them ready to use again.
The FSC Recycled label on a wood product indicates that no new trees were cut down to manufacture the product.
3. FSC Mix: The FSC Mix certification indicates that the product has been made using a combination of FSC-certified wood and recycled or controlled wood.
Controlled wood is obtained from non-FSC-certified forests or trees that meet the criteria of having no connection to illegal logging or human rights violations.
10 Principles of Forest Stewardship
Wood products are audited and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council on the basis of the following 10 rules:
- Must comply with the applicable laws and ordinances.
- Must improve the quality of life of engaged workers.
- Recognize and protect the legal and traditional rights of ownership of Indigenous People.
- Improve the quality of life of associated communities.
- Responsibly manage the various products and services of the Management Unit.
- Maintain, protect, or revive the environmental value of the Management Unit.
- Have a forest management plan based on the Forest Stewardship Council policies.
- Show that the consequences of forest harvesting & management activities are adequately monitored and evaluated to ensure responsible management.
- Preserve or improve the High Conservation Values in the Management Unit by applying the preventive technique.
- Management activities for the management unit must be implemented in accordance with the FSC’s economic, environmental, and social guidelines and goals.
Is FSC Certification Mandatory?
No, it’s a voluntary certification system for forests, plantations, and lumber products.
Even though it’s not mandatory, getting your wood products certified by the FSC can help dramatically boost the value and demand of your goods.
Which Products Are Satisfied by Forest Stewardship Council?
FSC typically inspects and supplies all types of wood products and things coming from forests.
These include but are not limited to raw wood, timber for construction, lumber-based building materials, plywood and other engineered lumber products (containing solid wood), hardwood, softwood, rainforest wood, plantation, and paper products.
Why is FSC Certification Important for Wood Products? (Benefits)
Forest Stewardship Council’s certification can help enhance the commercial value of timber or the industry reputation of a wood business.
Having FSC certification guarantees that the wood originates from sustainably-managed forests. Here’s why FSC certification is important:
Sustainable Foresting Practices: FSC-certified wood comes from responsibly-harvested forests, ensuring the trees and wood are managed in an eco-friendly manner to preserve and promote forests’ long-term health and wildlife and support balance in the ecosystem.
Environmental Conservation: FSC certification ensures that the forest is engaged in eco-friendly practices with the goal to preserve natural habitats, including wildlife, endangered species, and indigenous people and reduce environmental impact due to deforestation and climate change.
Socially Responsible: FSC certification also ensures that the organisation respects and protects the rights of local communities and indigenous people living in these forests.
These communities are involved in decision-making and new ways to protect their livelihoods and cultural heritage are advised.
Legal Compliance: FSC certification also confirms that the wood originated from legal sources. It adds transparency to the lifecycle of wood from harvesting to processing and helps prevent illegal timber harvesting.
Boosts Customer Trust: The FSC label builds trust among customers that the wood they’re buying was responsibly harvested in sustainably-managed forests.
It also encourages consumers to make responsible choices by purchasing legal and verified lumber.
Corporate Responsibility: Businesses using or selling FSC-certified wood products are perceived as those who care about their environmental and social responsibility. This can help boost their reputation.
In summary, FSC certification promotes sustainable forest management & timber sourcing, which helps protect forests and promote support for local communities.
It helps create a much-needed balance between economic advancement and environmental and social challenges.
FSC Certification Process & Requirements
Any business engaged in the harvesting or sale of wood or other forest-related products can apply for and obtain the FSC certificate by following these five steps:
- Get in touch with your local FSC-accredited certification bodies to register your interest in the certification.
- Submit a certification application in the prescribed format to the FSC certification body near you.
- Ensure your forest or practice meets the FSC certification guidelines and rules. Establish a proper FM (Forest Management) / CoC (Chain of Custody) or CoC Management System.
- Schedule an on-site audit of your facility to be conducted by the respective FSC certification body.
- Get approved for certification if your practice meets the criteria.
In addition to these steps, companies seeking approval must meet FSC’s standards and the 10 FSC rules mentioned above before the certification is granted.
Where to Buy FSC-Certified Wood From?
There are plenty of FSC-certified timber merchants selling authentic and legal wood around the world.
You can find the best certified wood by searching online for companies that ship to your location. Or you can visit the official website of White Knight Consulting LTD explore our wide range of FSC-certified wood products.
White Knight Consulting Ltd is one of the UK’s top timber manufacturers, suppliers & exporters that ships to 20+ locations all around the world.
We only deal in FSC-certified, high-quality, sustainably-sourced wood that you can now buy online from our website and get delivered to your doorstep. Contact us to know more or place your order today.