Have you ever noticed different logos on forest product packaging? Besides recycle triangle logo, you would also a tree-like logo with FSC written under. That is FSC logo. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. We’re going to discuss more of this organization focusing on forest sustainability. Most of all, the discussion would be on how they reward organization with FSC logo.
What is FSC
This nonprofit organization established in 1993. Their main interest is taking care of the world’s forest for future generations. “Making sure we all have forests for all forever,” as stated on the web. Headquarter located in Bonn, Germany, the focus of FSC is sustainable forestry.
FSC uses “Forest for All Forever” as its motto. Reflecting what they do. Which is “to take care of our forests and who rely on them: by protecting plant and animal species, indigenous peoples rights, forest workers’ safety and much more.”
Its member come from diverse background including environmental NGOs, the timber trade, community forest groups and forest certification organization. Members apply to join one of three chambers, environmental, social and economic.
What FSC Do
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) promotes responsible management of the world’s forestry. This includes the forest itself, the people whose lives rely on forest, the plant and animal species in it.
It does it by setting standard on management and supply chain of forest and its trade products. The standard then followed by organizations and companies participated. As a result, FSC gives the organizations and companies the FSC logo.
FSC logo represents that customers purchase product is eco-friendly. It comes from a forest and supply chain that is managed responsibly.
FSC works in several steps. First of all, it makes standard of responsible forest management. It’s called 10 Principles and associated Criteria (FSC P&C). These principles apply to all types of forest. This to ensures environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management.
10 Principles and associated Criteria (FSC P&C)
The 10 Principles and associated Criteria (FSC P&C) are:
- The Organization shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations and nationally-ratified international treaties, conventions and agreements.
- The Organization shall maintain or enhance the social and economic wellbeing of workers.
- The Organization shall identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ legal and customary rights of ownership, use and management of land, territories and resources affected by management activities.
- The Organization shall contribute to maintaining or enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.
- The Organization shall efficiently manage the range of multiple products and services of the Management Unit to maintain or enhance long term economic viability and the range of environmental and social benefits.
- The Organization shall maintain, conserve and/or restore ecosystem services and environmental values of the Management Unit, and shall avoid, repair or mitigate negative environmental impacts.
- The Organization shall have a management plan consistent with its policies and objectives and proportionate to scale, intensity and risks of its management activities. The management plan shall be implemented and kept up to date based on monitoring information in order to promote adaptive management. The associated planning and procedural documentation shall be sufficient to guide staff, inform affected stakeholders and interested stakeholders and to justify management decisions.
- The Organization shall demonstrate that, progress towards achieving the management objectives, the impacts of management activities and the condition of the Management Unit, are monitored and evaluated proportionate to the scale, intensity and risk of management activities, in order to implement adaptive management.
- The Organization shall maintain and/or enhance the High Conservation Values in the Management Unit through applying the precautionary approach.
- Management activities conducted by or for The Organization for the Management Unit shall be selected and implemented consistent with The Organization’s economic, environmental and social policies and objectives and in compliance with the Principles and Criteria collectively.
As you could see, the 10 FSC P&C covers different aspects that related to forest. From the forest itself up to the people whose lives depend on it.
FSC Logo and How to Get It
FSC logo is used on forest products if the product and the company producing it pass the assessment. This is done by FSC certification. The purpose of certification is to show that an organization or company operate in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible way.
There are two different types of FSC certification. First, for forest owner and managers, called forest management certification. Second, is for businesses manufacturing or trading forest products, called chain of custody certification.
Although the motto is “Forest for All Forever,” FSC rewards the certification only to the organizations or company that request the certification. The organization initiate the process by requesting inspection to an independent certifier. While FSC set the standard, an independent certifier do the assessments.
Moreover, certifier audit certified organizations at least once a year. It check the whole company whether they follow the practice of 10 rules of principles and associated Criteria (FSC P&C). If during audit the certifier finds the certified organization fail to follow FSC requirement, FSC issues warning and immediate action.
After all of audit done, the organization awarded certification and the right of eco-friendly label.
In addition, FSC is the only global forest certification system to have and integrated accreditation program that checks its certification bodies systematically. FSC issues accredited certification for organizations registered as part of FSC. They are the one who allowed to use FSC logo. But FSC does not issue certificates itself. It works with independent certification bodies.
Independent certification bodies carry out the forest management and chain of custody assessment leading to FSC certification. FSC has set the standards for forest management and chain of custody certification and defines the procedures that certification bodies should follow in their certification assessments.
FSC check Accredited certification bodies regularly to make sure their operation comply to FSC’s rules. Accreditation Services International (ASI) is the designate to check certification body compliance with the rules and procedures FSC has through a combination of field and office audits.
Moreover, to become FSC certification body for Forest Management or Chain of Custody certification, Independent certification bodies or conformity assessment bodies apply to ASI directly. There are two option of certification work at ASI. First, becoming an accredited certification body itself. Second, working as an affiliate of one of the accredited certification bodies.
Certification bodies carry out checks on FSC forest management and chain of custody certificates annually. While ASI do the checking on the certificate bodies annually through office and field audits. In conclusion, FSC works in different level.
Now that you know, you could check the cardboard packaging of your purchase. Do the packaging companies made the packaging operated the in eco-friendly way? Taking part to forest sustainability?