FSC certification is one of the most common environmental certifications in the print industry. But what does it mean and why is it good for the environment and your business? How can marketers, graphic designers, and print buyers know whether working with an FSC certified printer will meet their company’s environmental and sustainability standards?
In honor of Earth Day last week, we wanted to shed some light on FSC certification and why it should be an important consideration in choosing a vendor for your next print project.
What is FSC?
The Forest Stewardship Council was created in 1993 to halt deforestation and safeguard our forests. A nonprofit organization, FSC sets voluntary standards by which forests are independently certified in an effort to help businesses and consumers identify and purchase products from responsibly managed forests. FSC certification, which is noted by use of the FSC logo, ensures that the chain of custody has not been broken and all parties involved in bringing the product to the end user are FSC certified.
Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on the importance of protecting our forests which are critical to our everyday life. Consider this:
- 31% of the Earth’s land is comprised of forests
- Forests protect our soil, provide much of our fresh water, and regulate and stabilize our climate
- More than 80 million of the world’s species are supported by forests
- 1.6 billion people make a living through forestry and other forest-related occupations
Forests can also provide a sustainable source of wood and fiber, but only if managed responsibly. And when 30 million acres of forest are lost each year (which equates to 36 football fields every minute) you can see why it’s important to choose products and services that are FSC certified.
Forestry has come a long way since FSC was founded more than 20 years ago, but destructive forestry still happens, even in the US. Here are seven reasons to work with an FSC certified printer and ensure that you can do your part in purchasing responsibly.
- FSC prohibits deforestation
No other certification program restricts forest conversion. This ensures that natural forest will not be used for non-forest uses such as real estate development or agriculture.
- FSC Limits Clearcut size
Certified forest owners follow nature’s lead in how they harvest to ensure forests remain healthy. That means that even after harvest, the forest will continue to grow and remain intact for years to come.
- FSC Protects High Conservation Value Forests
FSC is the only standard with clear requirements to protect high conservation value forests including the protection of rare old growth areas.
- FSC Protects Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
FSC explicitly requires forest managers to uphold and protect the customary rights and resources of indigenous people. And FSC is the only standard to ensure that forest managers assess and address the impacts of forest operations on local communities.
- FSC Restricts the Use of Hazardous Chemicals
There are more greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation than all transportation combined. That’s why FSC works to protect our air quality by prohibiting the use of some of the most hazardous pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that are still widely used in the US and Canada.
- FSC Protects Endangered Species
This protection extends to species at risk of becoming threatened or endangered.
- FSC Protects Water Quality
FSC is the only standard to specify expanded protection for rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. This protects our water from erosion and chemical runoff, not currently covered by industry-based best management guidelines and existing laws.
Environmental sustainability is a hot button issue for many companies. That’s why over the past 20 years, demand for FSC certified products has grown dramatically. Today more than 400 million acres of forest are FSC certified and the number of companies adopting FSC policies continues to grow. Recently brands including IKEA, Whole Foods Markets, and AT&T have joined the ranks of other influential organizations and Fortune 500 companies who have committed to purchasing from responsibly managed forests.
So next time you are selecting a print partner for your next project, consider the importance of choosing an FSC certified printer and how you can be part of ensuring that our forests are managed responsibly.