What Is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification for Doors?
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies companies that comply with strict standards for the sustainable use of forests. Only compliant companies can apply FSC labels to their products. Following FSC standards and policies helps to protect Earth’s forests and indigenous people — an increasingly important factor for consumers.
The Manhattan Door Corporation is an example of one such company. All of Manhattan Door’s products are FSC-certified. Learn more about FSC certification — what it means and why it matters.
What Is FSC Certification?
The FSC is a non-profit organization promoting the responsible management of forests. The FSC supports the sustainable use, conservation and restoration of forests worldwide. When a wood product has an “FSC-certified” label, this means the wood and its manufacturer met the FSC standards for sustainable and societally beneficial forest use.
Why Is the FSC Important?
With its mission to protect Earth’s forests, the FSC has become an authority in sustainable lumber-using practices. Setting standards for the sustainable use of forests is an important way to combat deforestation. Forests are important to humans and other animals alike — they purify water, absorb carbon dioxide and support biodiversity. Agriculture, urban development and illegal logging are among the biggest threats to the world’s forests, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
When a company is FSC-certified, the consumer can rest assured they are not contributing to unsustainable deforestation. People are growing more concerned about the environment. In 2017, about three-quarters of U.S. adults said the U.S. should “do whatever it takes to protect the environment.” In the same study, 83% of adults said they make an effort to live in ways that help protect the environment some or all of the time.
Such environmentally-friendly certifications are growing more important to consumers. To keep up with consumer expectations, companies need to seek manufacturers with FSC certifications.
What Does It Mean to Be FSC-Certified?
An FSC certification means a manufacturer follows a strict set of FSC criteria. These criteria protect both lumber sourcing forests and the communities of people living in and around those forests. Some of the standards a manufacturer has to meet include:
- They have legal documentation of use-rights to the land and forest from which they gather lumber.
- They maintain the long-term wellbeing of local communities and forest workers.
- They assess the condition of the forest and manage their activities.
- They have an up-to-date management plan for the scale and intensity of their operations.
Forest Management: How Does It Work?
Responsible forest management is multifaceted. Some of the factors defining responsible forest management include:
- Protecting ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Respecting indigenous people and cultures.
- Only obtaining lumber through legal means.
- Restricting clear-cutting and dangerous pesticide use.
Protecting Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Mindless deforestation and irresponsible lumbering practices can destroy ecosystems. Trees provide habitat, shelter, food, water and temperature regulation for many animals. Without forests, many species are unable to survive. More than 70% of land animals and plant species live in forests. Biodiversity keeps Earth in balance — we may not even know all the wide-reaching effects of lost biodiversity. Additionally, forests absorb carbon dioxide and regulate the water cycle, so they help sustain a stable climate.
To protect the environment, lumber sourcing needs to follow tight guidelines. When lumber sourcing is regulated and sustainable, biodiverse ecosystems can continue to thrive.
Respecting Indigenous People and Cultures
Many indigenous groups rely on forests for survival and culture. As deforestation kills off species, it also threatens the indigenous people who rely on those species. While those in developed, industrialized parts of the world will eventually feel the consequences of deforestation, the impact is much more immediate for indigenous groups.
Sometimes, governments attempt to evict indigenous people before deforestation begins, leaving these people without a home. An important part of the FSC’s objective is to protect and advocate for indigenous people. An FSC 100% label shows an effort to protect indigenous people.
Only Obtaining Lumber Through Legal Means
An FSC label indicates legally obtained lumber. This is so important — no matter how many regulations are established, they are meaningless if manufacturers source lumber illegally. Does your lumber come from illegal deforestation?
Restricting Clear-Cutting and Dangerous Pesticide Use
Clear-cutting refers to the harvesting of almost all trees in an area. It can degrade or permanently change an environment, so many conservationists oppose any form of clear-cutting. Forest management laws restrict clear-cutting.
Another issue is pesticide use, which we know can be hazardous to many species. Forest management laws also limit the types and amount of pesticides acceptable during lumber sourcing.
Understanding FSC Labels
Different FSC labels have different meanings. Understand the various types of FSC certification, and know what labels to look for. An FSC-certified product can have one of the following three labels:
- FSC 100%
- FSC Recycled
- FSC Mixed
This label means all materials in the product come from forests meeting all FSC standards. This is the highest level of certification the FSC provides. If a product has an FSC 100% label, you and the consumer can rest assured knowing the product and manufacturer have met numerous strict standards.
The sourcing of the product has contributed to environmentally sustainable and socially beneficial forest conservation efforts. This label shows a commitment to helping the FSC meet its objectives. Look for this label on all wood products.
An FSC Recycled label indicates a product made from 100% recycled material. Using recycled material cuts back on lumber sourcing, which helps to limit deforestation. Recycled wood products have a positive impact on the environment as they decrease the demand for raw materials.
When you see an FSC Mixed label, this means a product is comprised of a mixture of material from FSC-certified forests, recycled material or FSC-controlled wood. FSC-controlled wood does not come from an FSC-certified forest, but it has a decreased risk of coming from an unacceptable source. For this reason, an FSC Mixed label may be less prestigious but is still important to note.
All FSC labels are dark green and show a tree and checkmark illustration. Below the FSC logo and website address, a label will read either “RECYCLED” “100%” or “MIX,” with a short descriptor of the label’s meaning. Look for these labels on all wood products you buy. When you purchase uncertified products, you may unknowingly contribute to deforestation and irresponsible lumber-obtaining practices.
Why Buy FSC-Certified Wood Equipment
Buying wood products with FSC certification helps protect the environment and human culture. Additionally, supplying certified sustainable products will set you above competitors — average consumers care more and more about the environmental sustainability of their purchases.