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What Does FSC® Stand For? The 3 Labels Of FSC® Genuine Products

What does FSC stand for and represent? FSC® stands for ‘Forest Stewardship Council’® *. The ‘tick tree logo’ has become a familiar reassurance to users and consumers of paper and wood products worldwide. Use of the logo is strictly regulated to avoid misleading messages. This means when you see it on a product you can be sure that the world’s forests and vulnerable environments have not been harmed. It also means that the rights of local and indigenous workers right at the start of the ‘chain of custody’ have been preserved, along with existing ecosystems.

Non-timber forest products such as latex, bamboo, etc, can also be certified. Currently 150 million hectares of forest are certified. That’s an increase of almost 45% since 2012. Over 50,000 organisations hold FSC® Chain of Custody certificates, over double the 2012 number. All of this means great news for the environment as well as showing the growth of such a worthwhile initiative.

How does FSC® it work?

FSC® published10 Rules for Responsible Forest Management as its core principles. These include ensuring compliance with applicable laws, avoiding or mitigating negative environmental impacts, and maintaining conservation values. Forests are inspected and certified against the stringent principles of Forest Stewardship. They are measured against a range of environmental, social and economical considerations. In addition the FSC® system includes a certified chain of custody that tracks materials through the supply chain to the labelling of the finished product. One of the key aspects of FSC® is its commitment to local consultation. This ensures the livelihoods and social welfare of local people is adequately protected and enhanced.

FSC® labelling explained

There are 3 types of FSC® label. These are traceable back to the holder of the certification which means they can be proved to be genuine. You will see the following variations FSC® 100%, FSC® Recycled and FSC® Mix:

FSC® 100% – all the materials in this product are forest based materials and are sourced from FSC certified and well managed forests

FSC® Recycled – made from verified recycled materials from either post-consumer or pre-consumer materials

FSC® Mix – supporting responsible forestry where all materials from FSC® certified forests,  verified as recycled or classed as controlled wood.

Consumers are increasingly becoming environmentally aware and will be looking out for suppliers who can demonstrate that they are actively moving towards products and packaging showing the FSC® label. Some even potentially boycotting (even if only passively) those that do not. It’s important for brands to realise the positive impact of these types of accreditations will have on their customers.

Is FSC® the only certification?

There are other forest certification schemes, but FSC® is regarded as having the strictest possible standards and the most rigorous chain of custody. This is why it is the only scheme endorsed by the major environmental charities. Probably the second most widely recognised is PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). There are also other less well-known schemes, for example CSA, SFI, MTSC. All of these are currently recognised in the UK as adequate assurance that the product is sustainably and legally sourced.

Do consumers recognise FSC®?

A 2020 independent report by the organisation Two Sides, found that 64% of European (73% in UK) consumers are aware of FSC. Interestingly, consumers in the UK gave this label a rating of 3.4 out of 5 for importance. This really highlights that UK consumers are looking more closely at the brands they buy from.

Do FSC® products cost more?

Cost does depend upon a number of factors, such as what demand there is and what the exact specification is. As a general rule, there is usually very little difference (if any) in price. That’s great news to be able to produce a product that’s environmentally sound as well as appealing to consumers.

What are Acopia doing about FSC®?

We recognise and endorse the environmental and ethical concerns of our stakeholders. A number of our paper and card products are already from suppliers with FSC® and other accreditations.  For new products we give priority to accredited sources. Where it is available as a choice we will always specify a certified product. Where a current supplier does not offer FSC® or other accreditation, we actively seek to replace these sources and introduce accredited suppliers into our supply chain.

Other things we do include sourcing in the UK (or as near to home as possible) and promoting recyclable and home compostable options.  By using our buying power, we’re able to make environmentally friendly options available to as many as possible. If you’re thinking of looking at this more closely for your own supply chain, please get in touch and we can get the ball rolling for you.

You can find out more about our own approach to Corporate Social Responsibility here, as well as a number of FSC® accredited packaging products within our NEST ecommerce range.