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Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
We are proud to be affiliated with the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC). Below you will find background information about the organisation as well as policies by which they stand by to improve various aspects of forest management.
FSC works to improve forest management worldwide, and through certification creates an incentive for forest owners and managers to follow best social and environmental practices. The growing demand for FSC certified products tells forest owners that businesses and consumers prefer products from well managed forests. It is also a global, not-for-profit organisation.
This incentive brings direct benefits to the forest, such as protecting biodiversity, indigenous peoples' rights, worker’s rights, and areas of significant environmental or cultural importance. FSC provides a connection between the forest and the end user, ensuring that products with the FSC label uphold principles and criteria which bring the highest social and environmental benefits.
FSC certification can positively impact workers and communities, shift governance processes globally and change economic and environmental conditions in the forest. This impact improves conditions such conflict over land tenure and use, worker's health and safety, biodiversity conservation, protection of endangered species and participatory forest policy.
By working to promote environmentally and socially beneficial forest management, FSC helps both local communities and society at large to enjoy long-term benefits of managing forests in a responsible way. As the world's most respected forest certification scheme, FSC is a global system with certificates issued in all forest types around the world.
When forest operations meet FSC requirements, the materials and products carry the FSC label and provide businesses and consumers with a powerful tool to influence how forests worldwide are managed.
The FSC Vision & Mission
Environmentally appropriate forest management ensures that the harvest of timber and non-timber products maintains the forest's biodiversity, productivity, and ecological processes.
Socially beneficial forest management helps both local people and society at large to enjoy long term benefits and also provides strong incentives to local people to sustain the forest resources and adhere to long-term management plans.
Economically viable forest management means that forest operations are structured and managed so as to be sufficiently profitable, without generating financial profit at the expense of the forest resource, the ecosystem, or affected communities. The tension between the need to generate adequate financial returns and the principles of responsible forest operations can be reduced through efforts to market the full range of forest products and services for their best value.
FSC and Timber Legality
All countries with forests have rules to manage ownership and harvesting rights, to contain possible environmental and social impacts, and to govern trade and export. But the level of enforcement of these rules is very different across the globe. This means that neither foresters who simply want to work within the framework of the law, nor those who want to go further and use the responsible management practices required by FSC certification, are competing on a level playing field with those who operate outside the law.
FSC therefore applauds legislation adopted in the USA, the EU and Australia, to prevent the use of illegally harvested timber, both imported and domestically produced. Similar legislation in Switzerland demands transparency about the origin and species of imported timber.
In the US and the EU, governments do not recognize privately certified timber as automatically complying with the law. In the US, legislation says that the companies which trade, use and/or market timber have to apply “due care” to ensure compliance, while in the EU there are more specific requirements for a “due diligence” system. It is the responsibility of companies to decide whether they consider that a system like FSC certification will be enough to demonstrate to the controlling authorities that they are exercising due care or diligence.
Australian legislation will follow the EU approach by requiring a due diligence system, of which the specifics will be formulated by November 2014. In this case, there is a good chance that FSC certification will be recognized as automatically complying with the due diligence requirements.
Timber legality legislation in the US, Europe and Australia is obviously important to FSC certificate holders in those countries, but it also has implications for those that directly or indirectly supply these timber markets from abroad.
These pages are to inform our stakeholders about what measures FSC has taken to respond to timber legality legislation, in particular how it has complemented its existing requirements for both Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification so that they contribute to compliance with the EU timber regulations. It also provides information on what contributions are expected, or likely to be expected, from FSC certificate holders in order to ensure compliance with timber legality legislation in different countries and regions, and provides information about the activities of European FSC offices concerning timber legality. The pages will be updated with specific information for certificate holders on an ongoing basis.
FSC seeks to ensure that its certification system is contributing to the elimination of illegal logging, respecting the requirements of those governments that have introduced specific legislation. But it does not lose sight of the fact that legality is just the first step towards sustainability.