What is FSC Certified Wood?
Have you ever purchased wood and saw a stamp or sticker that says the wood is FSC certified?
FSC certified wood is wood that has been harvested sustainably. With this type of wood, you can enjoy a lovely wooden deck or a natural wooden countertop without feeling guilty about the environment.
Find out more about FSC certification and how this relates to your next wood purchase from this article.
FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Wood that has FSC certification is the best type of wood that you can use for your wooden projects. FSC certification is the best indicator that the wood that you are using was harvested sustainably.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification is another good indicator and this is an alternative if you can’t find FSC products. Both the FSC and the SFI certifications tell you where the wood you are buying comes from.
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This certification covers important aspects such as protecting fragile ecosystems, respecting native cultures and economies, preventing illegal logging, restricting clear-cutting (removing all trees in a tract) and pesticide use.
It also includes monitoring the “chain of custody,” or making sure that the wood in the product you’re buying really came from the forest that was certified.
Forest Stewardship Council
FSC is considered the best forestry certification program but is considered to be too strict by most wood industry groups. Still, environmentalists consider it too lax with all the persistent cutting of wood still happening to this day. This nonprofit was started by environmental groups in 1993.
Forests are inspected and certified against the FSC’s 10 Principles of Forest Stewardship. Inspections are undertaken by independent organizations that are accredited by the FSC. For a forest to be given FSC certification, it must be well taken care of in an “environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable manner.”
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FSC ensures that forests are protected and the rights of indigenous people to felling trees are maintained. Forests that meet these strict standards are given FSC certification and the timber harvested from said forests come with the FSC label.
The downside of FSC is that it is quite hard to achieve therefore it is sometimes hard to find FSC labeled wood in a store. However, it is worth the extra effort. An increase in consumer demand can improve awareness and spread the word to more people. The key is to do intensive wood shopping to locate lumber that carries the FSC label.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
SFI is an outgrowth of the American Forest and Paper Association, from which it still receives funding despite being a separate nonprofit. Over the years, SFI has toughened its standards and this includes prohibiting logging of old-growth forests and limiting the use of chemical pesticides. This is a good alternative if you can’t find FSC –certified products.
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What should I do if I can’t find products with the FSC label?
As mentioned, because of the very strict restrictions that FSC has instilled in the industry, it is sometimes hard to find wood with the label. And although more and more products are becoming available there are still gaps in the market. If you cannot find a product with an FSC mark then ask for it. Keep in mind that the greater the demand the bigger the supply.
Where to buy certified wood
Ask your retailer or furniture maker upfront about certified wood options, and whether you can find products that are ready made. A helpful tool is the FSC or SFI website. These are perfect when you are looking for products with FSC or SFI certification or to look for retailers that sell certified wood.
Is FSC-certified wood more expensive?
The answer could be yes but still, this depends on efficiencies in the supply chain. It could also be a no if FSC-certified suppliers are competing with wood that’s been manufactured irresponsibly. You must compare items online before you make a purchase. FSC recommends you check different suppliers online to get the best value.
FSC or Forest Stewardship Council regulates the use of wood harvested from forests in the United States. FSC-certified wood is sustainable wood and has been responsibly harvested from FSC-certified forests.