A New York Times article has reported that the Forest Stewardship Council certification for wood products is essential part of responsible business for large multi-national companies such as Tetrapak and Office Depot. These companies report that consumers are demanding products that are environmentally responsible and that the FSC logo provides business with a competitive advantage by providing this guarantee.

The FSC has been particularly successful in the northern hemisphere but is starting to make headway in the southern hemisphere which contains sensitive tropical forests.

However, the NY Times also reports that FSC is not without problems. Christophe Thies, Greenpeace forest campaigner in Germany comments that “while the FSC is the most rigorous of certifiers, it still has its limitations as a conservation tool.” As the system expands, it is not putting enough resources into protecting valuable intact forests in places like Russia, the Congo Basin and Canada.

While the FSC is the only certification system supported by leading environmental groups, Greenpeace believes that the system needs to be strengthened to ensure that its forestry standards are being applied consistently, and correctly, across the board. Greenpeace has been monitoring FSC’s on the ground performance for the last several years and has found some serious deficiencies.

Nonetheless, as reported by the NY Times, “having an organization like FSC on the job seems better than not having one at all.” Let’s hope it stays that way and that FSC can remain an agent for forest conservation and not become another greenwashing scheme...

Click here to learn more about FSC around the world, and Greenpeace’s on-the-ground monitoring of the system.