What is FSC?
What is FSC?
An initiative that has gained moving momentum, is The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). With environmental conservation and social responsibility being of paramount importance amongst organisations and consumers, there is demand for consumer awareness of responsible products and materials.
FSC was founded in 1993 and is an international, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.
The FSC certification; FSC forest management and FSC chain of custody provides credibility to responsibly sourced materials.
What is FSC certification?
There are two types of FSC certification.
FSC chain of custody certification
FSC chain of custody certification verifies that FSC-certified material has been sourced from FSC-certified forest and separated from ineligible and unacceptable material throughout the supply chain (i.e. from forest to warehouse).
This means the product has been verified during manufacturing to comply with timber trade and custom laws and details have been documented.
This also ensures core labour requirements are met; meaning no child labour, no forced labour, no discrimination and no denying the rights of association and collective bargaining throughout the supply chain.
FSC forest management certification
This certification is for forest managers or owners. There are 10 key principles that must be adhered to for the FSC forest management certification. These cover a range of issues such as maintaining high conservation values to community relations and workers’ rights and monitoring environmental and social impacts of forest management.
What are FSC labels?
The main references of FSC that most individuals are aware of are the FSC labels. There are three labels, FSC Mix, FSC 100% and FSC Recycled. In most instances, once a business has FSC certification, they can apply FSC labels to their products.
Product labelled with FSC 100% is made from 100% forest-certified materials.
Product labelled with FSC Recycled is made from 100% recycled content (either post-consumer or pre-consumer).
Product labelled with FSC Mix is made from forest-based products, recycled or FSC controlled wood. FSC controlled wood refers to when materials may not be from a responsible forest but are from low-risk sources (and exclude a range of categories such as illegal harvesting and violation of traditional and human rights). FSC Mix products must contain a minimum of 70% FSC Recycled and/or FSC 100% material.
Other labelling information
Labels has a range of other information listed such as FSC license code to review suppliers.
How does a business become FSC certified?
Most businesses applying for the FSC certification will apply for the FSC chain of custody, unless you are managing or own a forest, in which case you would apply for the FSC forest management.
In Australia & New Zealand, only FSC accredited certification bodies can provide FSC certification. Businesses are required to pay for the audit and certification. FSC accredited certification bodies will require a range of paperwork and evidence to demonstrate the validity of your claims as well as an on-site visit. To maintain FSC certification, businesses are audited often.
Some things to consider:
Businesses have to apply the FSC chain of custody to product categories, therefore if a business has the FSC chain of custody that does not mean that all products can carry an FSC label.
Not all businesses that have products that carry the FSC label have a FSC chain of custody. Some businesses can use and provide FSC-certified products (such as a cafe providing take-away cutlery to a customer) however, without FSC promotional license, they are unable to promote this.
How do I check if a business is FSC certified?
Confirming the validity of FSC certification is recommended.
Individuals can review a business’s FSC credentials online with the FSC Public Certification Search.
- Find the businesses FSC license code (see FSC label image above)
- Go to FSC Public Certification Search (link here)
- Enter license code into search bar and click ‘Search’
- Right click on the relevant search item > ‘Drill through’ > ‘Certificate detail’
- This will provide you on more information on the type of FSC label as well as categories that the certification applies to.
If you are unable to find their FSC license code, you can also search via Organisation name, location, or use a range of the filters to find Certification information.
Choose FSC and promote sustainability
Choosing FSC certified products helps promote sustainable sourcing of materials, in this instance, from responsible forests worldwide. Businesses that choose to undergo FSC certification are doing so to demonstrate their commitment to preserving the environment and supporting fair working and labour conditions.
FSC-certified food packaging is becoming increasingly popular. Check out our range of FSC-certified food packaging:
Living Future: https://living-future.org.au/forests-timber-and-fsc-certification/
FSC Australia & New Zealand: https://anz.fsc.org/what-is-fsc