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Who and what is FSC®?

By Steffen Andersen · 24. September 2020

FSC stands for ‘‘Forest Stewardship Council®’’  which is an international non-profit organization with one mission, to take care of the world’s forests for many future generations. 

FSC was founded in 1993, it started a year after failing to agree to stop deforestation in 1992 at the Earth Summit conference which was held in Rio, afterward a group of businesses, environmentalists and community leaders came together to create FSC.

From day one and probably still long into the future they still have the same vision and mission for the future generations of forests.

Nowadays, FSC  operates in more than 80 countries around the world and holds land of more than 200 million hectares. 

Their vision is to send a clear message to the public that we are able to meet the needs for forest products without cutting down more trees and forests, so the forests are healthy for future generations

We are FSC certified under FSC® C132484, SCS-COC-005763-BC.

FSC Chain of Custody

In order for companies to offer FSC certified products need to become part of the chain of custody certificate.

Companies must have a chain of custody certificate to be able to take legal ownership of FSC-certified forest products and make an FSC claim through sales.

FSC makes sure to provide full transparency to the people, so you as a consumer know where the products come from and how they are produced. 

FSC Chain of custody keeps track of the products between the forest and the final user, and they are going to many stages of processing, from manufacturing and distribution.

To keep a track of forest products at every step through the supply chain, FSC is using one of three different control systems to make sure that a trustworthy claim can be made on the processing product.

Those control systems that FSC has developed to keep the track are called the transfer system, percentage system, and credit system.

Transfer System

This is a control system that is more used by printers, brokers, distributors, and merchants because it is more simple and straightforward than the other two control systems.

Every company that uses this system has the right to sell the product and be FSC claim, but when they purchase the product they need to be FSC-certified products with a specific claim.

Percentage System

The percentage system is used by manufacturers, mills, woodworkers.

Using this system, they must keep track and monitor the input of raw materials and they have to make sure the materials have to be minimum 70% certified to be able the product to carry the FSC label.

Credit System

This system is used by manufacturers that make the products out of inputs with different FSC claims, they also use inputs of post-consumer reclaimed material, pre-reclaimed paper fiber or FSC certified materials and they can store ‘’credit’’ into their credit account.

Having credits stored into their account means that they can mix eligible inputs and sell products with a label FSC Mix.

Understand the FSC label
© Limepack. Understand the FSC label

Why should you be a part of FSC?

There are many reasons why companies should offer FSC-certified products and use the FSC label.

When using the FSC label on our products we make sure to spread the message of the FSC organization and ensure that the people using the product can follow the chain of custody.

FSC not only cares about the trees🌳 in the forest but the organization also makes sure to protect the rights and gives an assurance to indigenous people to be able to enjoy the benefits of the forest.

They have decided to protect certain areas of the forest if it has a cultural or religious meaning for the indigenous people.  

FSC also encourages the forest owner to use local workers to ensure better conditions for the forest and the people whose livelihoods depend on it, which is also providing them with training, safety equipment and also following their principles which is not underpaying their workers.

The principles of FSC

FSC has established its own rules and principles for what they consider as responsible management of the forest.

To be certified by the FSC and able to sell the products with the FSC label, the company needs to follow these principles and rules.

  • Principle 1
    Being in line with all regulations, treaties, laws, agreements, conventions and most importantly with all the following principles and criteria. This means that forest management, wherever the forest is located, they have to respect and be applicable to those particular laws, also the same with international laws and agreements to whichever country is a signatory to.

  • Principle 2
    The owner of the forest should maintain and improve the conditions for the workers in FSC certified organisations. This includes both the workers getting paid an equal wage and that the organisation has proper safety measures for the workers.  

  • Principle 3
    The owner of the forest shall Identify and support local and native peoples’ rights of ownership and use of land resources. In many forests there are native people who are living there, to make sure they are treated properly, there has to be a legal and customary right in order to own, use and manage their lands, territories, and resources, and to be recognized and respected.

  • Principle 4
    Maintain or strengthen forest workers local communities, social and economic well-being. Forest management has to improve and increase the way how society is organized which can include unemployment, low payments, and other social problems, and making sure for forest workers and local communities have a present and future financial security and fulfill their needs.

  • Principle 5
    Continue or strengthen long term economic, social and environmental benefits from the forest. Forest management being on an active process needs to be inspired on using the forest’s multiple products and services in the best possible manner to avoid the wasteful consumption of material resources and guarantee a wide range of environmental and social benefits.

  • Principle 6
    Maintain or restore the ecosystem, its biodiversity, resources, and landscapes. Most importantly, forest management should protect the variability among living organisms and the values that come with it, natural valuable resources such as water and soil, also conserving the life of plants, animals, and all living species. 

  • Principle 7
    Having a management plan, being implemented, monitored and documented in the end. The plan should conclude on the intensity of cutting down the trees and the risks associated with this. The management plan should be updated due to the actual conditions of the forest.

  • Principle 8
    Demonstrate progress towards management objectives. The progress should be observed and checked which is acceptable and a level of forest management. The point to keep track of the progress is to help and improve and evaluate the condition of forest, forest products, chain of custody and the social and environmental impacts.

  • Principle 9
    Preserve or strengthen the attributes which define high conservation value forests. Different activities should be made in order to prevent the wasteful use of a resource and make clear of what forests are providing us. 

  • Principle 10
    Plan and manage the plantation in accordance with economical, social and environmental perspectives. The management of the forest should always take the principles of FSC into accordance when planning the objectives of the forest. 

We as a company are well informed about the regulations and principles that FSC requires and we are working with manufacturers who buy all their paper products from FSC certified companies. 

We also make sure that the manufacturers who claim they are FSC certified comply with these principles. 

FSC vs Standard paper products

FSC gives you a lot of reasons why you should choose certified products. Some of the reasons are:

  • The products come from a renewable resource, and the forestry will not cut down more wood than they will be replanting.  
  • When it comes to mainstream construction material, FSC certified forestry is also considered much more effective when it comes to thermal insulation and actually has thermal insulation properties 5 times better than concrete, 10 times better than brick and 350 times better than steel. 

FSC certification helps you connect with the end-user, allows consumers to be confident that the products they are purchasing come from a responsible source. 

We at Limepack only work with EU manufacturers, this ensures that many of the manufacturers we work with offers FSC certified products.

We are providing our customers with paper cups which are made from paper plant-based and are labeled with FSC Mix which means they are produced with paper or wood from a mixture of controlled wood and recycled materials or certified forests. 

FSC and UN development goals

The UN goals are created when a lot of nations agree on the goals they want to achieve until 2030. They have made 17 goals that hope to improve the world on both social, economic and environmental issues. 

FSC is also working to improve some of the UN goals.

The goals that FSC is striving towards are also in line with some of the goals set by the UN, and it is especially goal 8 (Decent work and economic growth), 12 (responsible production and consumption) and 15 (life on land).

FSC is consistently working with these UN goals by consistently expanding their principles of worker rights, not cutting down more forest than being replanted and certifying products of recycled paper.  

By supporting FSC you are also supporting the UN development goals, which is important to show and remember to impact other companies and nations to take action on the development goals. 

Standard tree and paper products

Standard paper products are made from any tree or from tree products that have been recycled.

Paper manufacturers which are not FSC-certified, do not have the same responsibility about the environment, the rights of the workers, and strengthening the local communities. 

Standard paper manufacturers and FSC have the same advantages which both can create recyclable♻️ products but manufacturers of standard paper do not have to replant the trees. 

Forests which are not FSC-certified are not controlled and documented as much, which means they cannot control the quality and the safety of the forest as strict as FSC certified forestries. 

It can be expressed in this example – Amazon rainforest has throughout the 00s been caught on fire multiple times, which could be argued that it would happen as often if it was controlled by FSC standards.  

There is a lot of examples of how the FSC certification has had a positive influence on the forestry.

Bolivia, for example, has certified more than two million hectares of its forests certified from FSC which helped to improve relationships between forestry companies and local populations with employment opportunities and help the local community.

Content and Marketing Manager at Limepack

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