Here’s a fact that might astound you - 1.6 billion people around the world depend on forests for some of life’s most important necessities including food, clothing, and shelter.¹
However, worldwide we face a tremendous issue known as deforestation. Due to deforestation, it’s expected that there will be no rainforests left on Earth in as little as the next 100 years.²
Thankfully, organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (or FSC®) exist to protect these forests for future generations. The FSC is an independent, non-profit organization that sets standards on products made from forests.³ FSC certified products, like World Centric’s FSC Tray Sleeves, come from responsibly managed forests.
Today is FSC Friday, the annual celebration of responsible forestry, so we’re taking a look at their organization and the many positive things it stands for.
Which World Centric products are FSC-Certified?
World Centric is FSC-certified to sell products under the FSC Mix certification. Our hot cups, bowls, and tray sleeves are made from FSC-certified paper. The hot cups and bowls are made with a plant-based lining, instead of the usual petroleum based lining. This makes them compostable in 2-4 months in a commercial composting facility.
What Is Deforestation and Why Does It Matter?
Each year, we lose 18.7 million acres of forests per year. That’s the equivalent of 27 soccer fields every minute.⁴ Of this deforestation, industrial agriculture has accounted for 80% of it from the years 2000 to 2010.⁵
This often involves burning trees as well as clear cutting, both of which have severe negative effects on the land. In addition, deforestation contributes to global climate change overall due to its impact on the global carbon cycle.⁴
Trees on Earth can store approximately 300 billion tons of carbon. When these trees are cut down, not only are there less of them available to store this carbon, but the process of deforestation also releases carbon dioxide back into the air.⁴
Not only does deforestation have an impact on global climate change, but it also has several other negative impacts on our ecosystem. These include loss of species that rely on forests as habitats, negatively affected water cycles, soil erosion, and the disturbance of many native people throughout the world who live in rainforests.⁴
What Are The Types of FSC Labels?
There are three different types of FSC-Certified labels. These include 100% FSC-Certified, FSC Recycled, and FSC Mix. The 100% FSC label means that the wood or paper in the product came from an FSC-Certified forest. The FSC Recycled label means that the wood or paper in the product came from reclaimed materials. Lastly, the FSC Mixed label means that at least 70% of the wood or paper in a product came from FSC-certified or recycled materials, while the remaining 30% was made of FSC controlled wood.⁶ Under the FSC-certification, controlled wood must meet five standards to be considered an acceptable material. Controlled wood cannot be illegally harvested, harvested in violation of human rights, harvested in forests in which high conservation values are threatened by management activities, harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use, and lastly it cannot come from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.⁷
How Do Forests Become FSC-certified?
The FSC has developed a set of 10 principles and 57 criteria that forests must meet in order to become FSC-certified.⁸
PRINCIPLE 1: The Organization shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations and nationally-ratified international treaties, conventions and agreements.
PRINCIPLE 2: The Organization shall maintain or enhance the social and economic wellbeing of workers.
PRINCIPLE 3: The Organization shall identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ legal and customary rights of ownership, use and management of land, territories and resources affected by management activities.
PRINCIPLE 4: The Organization shall contribute to maintaining or enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.
PRINCIPLE 5: The Organization shall efficiently manage the range of multiple products and services of the Management Unit to maintain or enhance long term economic viability and the range of environmental and social benefits.
PRINCIPLE 6: The Organization shall maintain, conserve and/or restore ecosystem services and environmental values of the Management Unit, and shall avoid, repair or mitigate negative environmental impacts.
PRINCIPLE 7: The Organization shall have a management plan consistent with its policies and objectives and proportionate to scale, intensity and risks of its management activities. The management plan shall be implemented and kept up to date based on monitoring information in order to promote adaptive management. The associated planning and procedural documentation shall be sufficient to guide staff, inform affected stakeholders and interested stakeholders and to justify management decisions.
PRINCIPLE 8: The Organization shall demonstrate that, progress towards achieving the management objectives, the impacts of management activities and the condition of the Management Unit, are monitored and evaluated proportionate to the scale, intensity and risk of management activities, in order to implement adaptive management.
PRINCIPLE 9: The Organization shall maintain and/or enhance the High Conservation Values in the Management Unit through applying the precautionary approach.
PRINCIPLE 10: Management activities conducted by or for The Organization for the Management Unit shall be selected and implemented consistent with The Organization’s economic, environmental and social policies and objectives and in compliance with the Principles and Criteria collectively.
Unfortunately today, only 11% of forests worldwide are currently FSC-certified. And, the majority of these forests are in North America and Europe, as it is more difficult for forests in developing countries to become certified. Here is a map that shows FSC Forests around the world:
The lack of protected forests is one of the many reasons why it’s important to support FSC certifications and create more market demand for FSC-certified products. More FSC-certified forests means more protection of forests around the world. So, the next time you’re shopping for wood or paper products, take a moment to stop and look for the FSC logo when making your purchasing decisions.
How Can I Find FSC-Certified Products?
The Global FSC Certificate Database can be used to verify FSC-certified companies, as well as be used as a tool to search for FSC-certified products. You can search the database here: https://info.fsc.org/certificate.php
1 - https://us.fsc.org/en-us/what-we-do/why-forests-ma...
2 - https://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.ht...
3 - https://us.fsc.org/en-us/what-we-do/mission-and-vi...
4 - https://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.ht...
5 - https://globalforestatlas.yale.edu/land-use/indust...
6 - https://ic.fsc.org/en/choosing-fsc/fsc-labels
7 - https://ic.fsc.org/en/what-is-fsc-certification/co...
8 - https://ic.fsc.org/en/what-is-fsc-certification/pr...