Beginner's Guide to Third-Party Forest Certification: FSC

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Publish date: 09.15.2004


Shining a Light on the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)


Barely a day goes by without hearing news of the impact global trade is having on jobs, manufacturing industries, the environment and communities. While on one hand we fear that shortly someone in India will be answering fast food orders at the drive up window, we also hear about the growing problems of pollution in China and rampant illegal logging in Southeast Asia. Increased globalization has spurred concern in a growing segment of consumers toward having a better idea of how the products they buy are produced and sold. Further, there has been a realization by many companies, and their critics, that there is a need for businesses to be able to demonstrate good environmental and social practices. This awareness has resulted in a number of non-governmental organizations monitoring and certifying products in the global marketplace. From clothing, rugs, fish, food, wood, paper and diamonds, an expanding array of labeling systems have been developed in an effort to give consumers the opportunity to make an informed selection.


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global forest monitoring and certifying organization. While relatively unknown by the US public, it is probably the most widely recognized forest certification system overall. In 2004, it was estimated that globally there are 20,000 FSC certified product lines with an annual turnover of between $3 and $5 billion dollars available to consumers. A survey in the Netherlands found that FSC wood held more than a 10% share of the national timber market. FSC's target for the next ten years is to have a market share of at least 10 percent globally.


An update to this report was published in 2008, for the FSC Update Report, Click Here.