FSC® The Forest Stewardship Council®

FSC® stands for Forest Stewardship Council® but in fact, FSC and our tick-tree logo stand for a whole lot more than that.  FSC certified products are made with wood or wood fibre from forests that are managed well, and/or from recycled materials, such as kerb-side paper collections or demolition debris.  By choosing FSC wood, paper and other forest products such as latex, consumers can ensure that their purchases keep forests alive for future generations.

FSC LogoIf your business makes wood or paper products and you want to use the FSC tick-tree logo to promote them, you need to be FSC certified.  If your business sells finished, labelled products then a stand-alone FSC trademark licence may suffice.  Either way, FSC, or its auditors, need to check that products promoted as FSC are genuinely certified and eligible for promotion.  Using and selling FSC products shows that you respect the environment, and allows consumers to be confident when purchasing forest products.  This can be particularly important when dealing with forest materials from regions and species that are generally considered high-risk e.g. tropical timber.  There has been a tendency for tropical timber to be boycotted but this can actually be counterproductive, serving to devalue the forest and risking its conversion, often by devastating slash and burn practices,Choosing FSC wood, ensures that your purchase helps to keep forests alive for generations to agricultural land.  By using FSC certified tropical timber, we can be confident that trees are being replanted, that animals are being protected and that people are being given a chance to earn a sustainable living from the forest, crucially this means the forest will be worth more alive than dead.  FSC certification can also form part of a company’s due diligence system to meet the requirements of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR).

FSC manufacturer audits are carried out by independent accredited certification bodies.  To gain FSC ‘chain of custody’ certification a company needs to select a certification body and schedule an audit.  Not all outputs need to be FSC certified; companies can start with just one product line.  A documented control system will need to be prepared.  It will detail how the company segregates and combines forest materials in line with the FSC standard for chain of custody certification.  This can often just be a case of adding FSC information into existing documents and procedures.  All FSC standards and procedures are available from the FSC International website or the FSC UK office (see below for details).  FSC UK advises that companies approach at least three certification bodies (a list is available on-line or on request) for If your business makes wood or paper products and you want to use the FSC tick-tree logo to promote them, you need to be FSC certified.  quotes as prices can vary.  For those buying and selling-on finished, labelled products a trademark licence, which does not require an on-site audit, should suffice, these are available from the FSC UK office.  Further advice and guidance is available from FSC UK in the form of on-site and online training and a technical helpline.

FSC certified or licensed companies will have their own unique FSC license number (used online and/or, in the case of certified companies, on invoices) and be listed on the FSC database at http://info.fsc.org/.
 Not everyone needs to get certified, no authorisation is needed to buy FSC products, just to sell them on as FSC.  Factsheets are available from FSC UK and are downloadable from the website.

The FSC label can be found on many different types of product, potentially, just about anything sourced from a forest can be FSC certified.  FSC certified products include furniture, greeting cards, construction timber, tissues, stationery, footballs (latex), office paper, charcoal and fuel wood, packaging and even gin (made from pine cones)!

FSC contact details: www.fsc.org; +44 (0)1686 413916; info@fsc-uk.org

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