What is Forest Stewardship Council certification?

The rapid rate of deforestation spurred the formation of the Forest Stewardship Council. See more tree pictures.

Wood has arguably been the most resourceful substance in human history. People have used wood for millennia because it's great for fueling fire, making tools, furniture and paper, and especially for construction. Unlike money, wood actua­lly does grow on trees, which can make it seem ubiquitous and inexhaustible. Although wood is one of our most renewable resources, by the late 1900s, environmentalists were concerned with overuse of the earth's forests. The world's appetite for wood, wood products and forest land took a toll. Drastic deforestation threatened to deplete resources, damage forest wildlife and contribute to global warming.

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As environmentalist groups gained supporters, certain forest management companies sought a way to demonstrate their commitment to well-managed harvesting. Various groups, including environmental groups and timber traders, worked together to find a way to evaluate forests and wood products for responsible, envir­onmentally friendly management. In the early 1990s, these groups established the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international organization dedicated to regulating and maintaining accreditation standards.

­The FSC's main purpose is to provide a way for industry and consumers to know that wood and its byproducts come from responsibly managed for­ests and supply chains. The council maintains a set of principles and criteria to make sure that wood products don't destroy natural resources or threaten wildlife.

The council lays out the standard for two different certifications: Forest Management (FM) and Chain of Custody (CoC). FM certification is granted to a well-managed forest. On the other hand, CoC certification is granted to products that are appropriately manufactured and tracked from the forest to the consumer. With a CoC certification, companies that package and trade forest products can brand their products with the FSC logo. Consumers know that when they buy products with this logo, they're buying green goods.

Let's learn more about the FSC's standards for certification.