The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, is an independent, non-profit organization with the goal of protecting and preserving the forests for future generations of people. It was founded in 1993 as a means of helping promote forest management and conservation, and it currently operates in more than 80 countries – anywhere there’s the presence of forests.
Since the FSC is interested in anything that’s related to the world’s forests, and since hardwood floors are derived from wood, the organization is involved with how these types of floors are sourced. Unfortunately, some of the sources of hardwood floors are the result of illegal logging, which is detrimental to the survival of the forests, the FSC’s overall mission and many other social and economic factors. Because it can be extremely difficult to stop or prevent illegal logging, it’s often difficult for home and business owners to know whether their flooring is sustainable or not. FSC certification, however, can help offer peace of mind in the floor buying process.
And that’s why purchasing hardwood flooring that is FSC certified is so important, as it ensures that the FSC will be better able to sustain their mission of ensuring that the forests are preserved to the best of humanity’s ability.
Here’s a look at seven reasons why you should ensure that your hardwood floors are FSC certified before purchase:
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), illegal logging accounts for up to 90 percent of forestry activities in tropical forests such as the Amazon Basin, in Africa and those in Asia. This equates to about 30 percent of all wood that’s traded globally, an alarmingly high number. What’s more is the WWF stats that illegal logging accounts for some $100 billion annually, so it’s big business. Illegal logging doesn’t just impact the forests, but it also eliminates animal habitats and threatens the livelihood of forest communities that rely on these resources for survival.
From an economic standpoint, illegal logging drives down the cost of timber because loggers aren’t paying the appropriate taxes and duties to harvest the wood. And while you might think that cheaper wood prices aren’t a bad thing, they are when the trickle-down effect has an impact on the U.S. and global economies. Unfortunately, illegal logging doesn’t get the publicity that other similar causes do, but the bottom line is that it’s responsible – both from an economic and social standpoint – to ensure that any hardwood you purchase is FSC certified.
Legal forestry is also sustainable forestry. Legal logging is completed in well-managed forests that are protected and properly maintained, whereas the exact opposite occurs in forests that are illegally harvested. Managed forests ensure that there’s adequate trees remaining at any given time so that the ecosystem isn’t thrown into abyss, unlike what’s done in illegal logging situations where everything that is able to be cut down and harvested is done so. As a result, illegal logging leads to the complete destruction and disappearance of forests, where managed forests are designed to regenerate so that they will be around for many more generations.
The FSC has very specific certifications as to what kind of wood qualifies and what kind of wood does not. That’s part of the reason why it’s important for consumers to seek this type of wood, as when there’s the demand, there’s likely to be the supply. So consumer demand of FSC certified wood can help such wood expand to a greater consumer base, further eliminating illegally logged wood from the marketplace. This all starts with knowing what type of wood to look for and why the FSC designation can be so impactful.
Responsible forest management protects ecosystems, respects native cultures and economies as it pertains to the forest, prevents illegal logging, restricts clear cutting (as well as the use of pesticides) and ensures proper monitoring all along the supply chain. While this all ties into sustainability to some extent, it also ties into the long-term health of a resource – the forest – that is so vital to so many people.
Going back to supply and demand and spreading awareness of the importance of purchasing FSC certified wood: if more people are to do it and shun wood that may have been or was illegally harvested, then there’s eventually not going to be a market for it anymore and these unethical loggers will eventually be out of work. As we noted elsewhere in this piece, wood that was illegally harvested doesn’t just do damage to the forests, but to local and global economies and animal habitats as well. To a certain extent, illegal logging is on a similar level to that of animal poaching and it’ll take a worldwide commitment of not purchasing their products to truly get rid of them.
As we noted in the opening, the big mission of the FSC is to ensure that forests around the world are protected and sustained so that future generations can enjoy all the benefits offered by them. Just think of a world without forests. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), we couldn’t live without them. That’s because they’re home to 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, not to mention plants that are crucial to creating life-saving medicine. Furthermore, the FAO states that more than 1.5 billion people depend on the forest for their livelihood. Forests shouldn’t be taken for granted and FSC certification on wood helps to ensure that you’re doing your part to make sure that forests don’t go away anytime soon.
FSC certification is an extremely credible and ethical designation, as it is endorsed by the aforementioned WWF as well as Greenpeace and The Woodland Trust. Additionally, it’s a preferred designation for businesses and the certification most widely used by Fortune 500 companies. Its certifications are also consistent on a worldwide level.
As you can see, FSC designation is important – and that’s part of the reason why we only carry FSC certified wood flooring. While we want your home to look great with the flooring that you choose, we also want to make sure that we’re supplying your home or business responsibly. We wouldn’t have it any other way.