FSC: What’s the Label’s Meaning & Scope?

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certifies products that come from forests audited for sustainable management practices.

Meaning of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)
Meaning of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)

Quick guide:

What is FSC?

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certifies manufacturers, forest managers, and projects that use forest products from forests audited for sustainable management standards.

Since its founding in 1993, the FSC has become the leading global certification system for sustainably managed forests and covers 196.7 million hectares of forest as of the 2022 annual report. This puts FSC forest coverage at about 5%, considering that the world’s total forest area in 2020 was 4.06 billion hectares and 4.24 billion hectares in 1990.

What types of certifications does FSC offer?

FSC offers four types of certifications and licenses:

  • Chain-of-custody certification: For manufacturers who produce using forest-based materials. This is the most popular certification category, with a total of 52,827 certificates awarded.
  • FSC promotional license: For shops and businesses who wish to sell or use FSC-certified products and use the FSC trademarks for promotional purposes. There are a total of 1,600 promotional license holders.
  • Forest manager certification: For forest owners and managers who want their forests to be certified as being managed to FSC’s forest stewardship standards. A total of 1,651 forest management certificates have been awarded.
  • Project certification: For certifying construction projects, civil engineering projects, or other large physical objects like statues or boats.

What types of products can be FSC-certified?

Although any forest-derivatives can obtain FSC’s chain-of-custody certification, FSC-certified consumer products usually tend to fall into these five categories:

  • Fashion. From viscose dresses to lyocell underwear, fashion brands are increasingly using FSC-certified materials in their products.
  • Furniture, Homeware & DIY. From desks to mirror frames, sustainable furniture makers have plenty of need for FSC-certified wood.
  • Beauty & Wellness. Here, examples could be foundation brushes made from FSC-certified wood or yoga mats made from FSC-certified rubber.
  • Hobbies, Sports & Recreation. From gardening tools to yard games, FSC-certified wood and materials find their way into various recreational products.
  • Paper, Stationary & Packaging: Books, notebooks, packaging materials, paper products, and stationery items often carry the FSC label.