Ecological and socially responsible forest management can, and is, being practiced worldwide. This kind of forest management seeks to ensure that the forest ecosystem is not damaged, that only low volumes of trees that can be sustained by the forest are extracted, and that the impacts on plant and animal life are minimal.
The Forest Stewardship Council®, or FSC®, is an international non-profit forest certification and labelling system that was established to offer a single, easily recognisable label that consumers can trust. This label certifies that forest products come from responsibly managed forests.
What is the FSC?
Activists build an FSC plywood blockade outside the EU social and general headquarters in Brussels.
Founded in 1993 through the collaborative efforts of more than 100 participants representing economic, social, indigenous and environmental interests, the FSC issues certificates for well managed forests.
The FSC was created to allow corporate buyers and the public to identify products coming from responsibly managed forests, with the aim of redirecting the forest products industry towards more sustainable paths.
The FSC has grown rapidly since it began. It has over 400 members in over 50 countries - from large players in forestry to smaller companies, from community forestry groups to indigenous peoples' organisations, from environmental organisations to progressive forestry and wood retail companies - all working in a balanced partnership to improve forest management worldwide. Greenpeace is a founding member.
Support for the FSC label is high among major purchasers and retailers of forest products, but the tens of billions of dollars of demand for FSC products still far exceeds supply. And sustainable management of the world's ancient forests is still the exception rather than the rule.
Forest Stewardship Council logs in Los Lagos, Puerto Montt, Chile, 2004. A Greenpeace activist in the foreground.
How does the FSC work?
The FSC oversees third party, voluntary certification of forests. The certifications cover all types of situations, including communal and group certifications, natural and semi-natural forests, government owned forests and plantations.
The FSC certification also means that the forest has been independently inspected and evaluated for compliance with local laws, respect for indigenous and traditional peoples rights, the health, safety and rights of forest workers, and the provision of a wide range of social benefits.
What you can do
Strong public demand and pressure from non-governmental organisations, combined with real commitments from corporate buyers to purchase products only from FSC certified forests is one way to help stop ancient forest destruction and promote ecologically and socially responsible management of the world's forests.
Whether you are buying as an individual or as a company, demand products from FSC certified forests and insist the product has an FSC label. Find out more here.
Letter requesting FSC members to vote NO to the proposed revised version of the Principles and Criteria - Jan 2012