5 Reasons to Use FSC Certified Products

We've all seen the logo of a checkmark turning into the three sweeping arcs of the foliage of a tree -- I suspect it's an ash -- with three little letters underneath it. We've seen it on lumber products, on mailed advertisements, on our cable bills, and even on our sneakers, but what is it? Who is the Forest Stewardship Council, what are they about, and why should we specify their products? Well, I've done my homework and I'll allow you to look over my shoulder on the next test.

Forest Stewardship CouncilFrom their Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship:

"The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international body which accredits certification organizations in order to guarantee the authenticity of their claims. In all cases the process of certification will be initiated voluntarily by forest owners and managers who request the services of a certification organization. The goal of FSC is to promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests, by establishing a worldwide standard of recognized and respected Principles of Forest Stewardship."

Or, in layman's terms, it's a global, non-governmental organization that has created a set of guidelines that, when followed, will help decrease the negative economic, environmental, and social impacts of forest management. 

Now, five reasons it's a good idea to use FSC products:

1. It's good for the environment.

The guidelines for FSC certification ensure that forests are not damaged to the point of disrepair and that natural systems stay intact. Under these guidelines, forests cannot be harvested aimlessly or carelessly. They must be logged in such a way as to maintain the current natural habitat, economic viability (for all forest products), as well as prevent the use of harmful chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides. GMOs are also prohibited under the FSC guidelines.

2. It's good for the people.

Part of becoming certified is making sure that all local, regional, and global laws and/or treaties are followed. This is to prevent illegal transportation or harvesting of goods. The guidelines also ensure that indigenous peoples' and worker's rights are maintained and respected.

3.    It's good for the forest.

The principles are designed to allow the forest to be harvested in such a way that promotes regeneration and growth within the forest. This creates healthier habitats and longevity for our natural resources. 

4.    It promotes forward thinking.

FSC certification requires that businesses create and follow a management plan for each forest. This management plan shall state how the forest will continue to be harvested in the future and identifies provisions for environmental rehabilitation.

Easter Island5.    Remember Easter Island.

The poor inhabitants of Easter Island (the one with all those stone heads on it) ran out of trees about 600 years ago. They cut down all the trees on the island to create canoes, buildings, and to transport their famous statues. Without trees, they could no longer fish for tuna and dolphin -- their main source of protein -- and were forced to tap land-going sources of food. Without the forest to support wildlife, they quickly ran out of food and starved.

History often repeats itself and in this case, we take action to assure that it doesn't.