Lumber is a pretty integral ingredient to how we build and furnish our homes. And luckily, when properly managed and harvested it is a sustainable and renewable resource. It is also an excellent natural carbon sequestration method. And seeing as how we can’t quite seem to figure out how to do that with technology, it seems like we should probably take advantage of Mother Nature when she does it for us. But you see that bolded sentence up there about managing and harvesting properly? That’s the kicker. How do we ensure that the lumber we are building with is managed and harvested in a sustainable manner? Well, that’s where the Forest Stewardship Council comes in handy.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a international not-for-profit organization devoted to responsible management for the world’s forests. It does this primarily through standard setting, certification, and labeling of forest products. The FSC was established in 1953 as a response to concerns about deforestation. It certifies and labels forest products which are harvested in environmentally appropriate ways, are socially beneficial, and economically viable.
How does lumber become FSC labeled
There are two types of certifications that the FSC offers, Forest Management and Chain of Custody. Both certification require evaluation by an independent FSC accredited certifier that the forest of chain of custody meets the principles and criteria that the FSC has developed.
The FSC maintains 10 principles to determine if a Forest can be certified:
- Compliance with all applicable laws and treaties, and all FSC principles and criteria.
- Tenure and use rights and responsibilities.
- Recognition and respect of indigenous peoples rights.
- Operations must maintain or enhance the long-term social and economic well being of forest workers and surrounding communities.
- Efficient use of products to ensure economic viability, and social and environmental benefits.
- Maintain the ecological functions and and integrity of the forest.
- A long-term appropriate management plan must be written and followed.
- Monitoring and assessment
- Maintenance of High Conservation Value forests.
- Plantations which are in accordance with principles 1-9
In order for lumber to be labeled by the FSC it must come from a forest which is certified in Forest Management, and it must follow a supply chain which has been certified in Chain of Custody.
What sorts of products are FSC labeled
More than just lumber can be labeled by the FSC. The label can also be used by paper products, furniture, jewelry, and medicines that were made by products in certified forests.