Several certifications exist designating that the wood pulp used in paper came from responsibly-managed forests, accounting for both environment and community health.
Certification bodies include Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Lumi recommends using FSC-certified materials when possible.
The FSC label ensures1 tree plantations comply with local laws, manage the land with a long-term perspective, and respect the rights of indigenous peoples.
There are three tiers2 within the FSC label:
- FSC 100% indicates that all of the pulp in the paper came from FSC certified forests.
- FSC Mix indicates that the pulp is a mix of FSC certified forests, recycled pulp, and controlled wood, or wood from ethical sources that does not meet the full FSC certification.
- FSC Recycled indicates that the material comes from reclaimed material.
Why choose it
The FSC serves an important role as a globally recognized environmental partner to the paper industry. In the nebulous, confusing world of environmental audits, a globally recognized watchdog with clear standards and high industry acceptance is a welcome player.
Companies may seek out FSC certified papers if the goals and practices of the FSC organization are a high priority.
Why not choose it
Not all responsibly-managed forests are FSC-certified. When optimizing for local fabrication to reduce freight emissions, FSC-certified paper may not always be available. To reduce the net carbon footprint, it may be preferable to use locally-sourced recycled paper.
There has been some controversy surrounding instances of fraud or suppliers using the FSC logo without actually following FSC principles. This speaks to the difficulty of policing and enforcing these standards on a global scale. The FSC mark may not be a top priority for companies if other certifications or properties are more important.
Frequently asked questions
FSC Mission and Vision (FSC)
FSC Labels (FSC)
Leonard Goff, Allen Blackman, Marisol Rivera-Planter. Does Eco-Certification Stem Tropical Deforestation? Forest Stewardship Council Certification in Mexico (RFF, 2015)
Richard Conniff. Greenwashed Timber: How Sustainable Forest Certification Has Failed (Yale E360, 2018)
FSC Certification (FSC)
PEFC Global Statistics: SFM & CoC Certification (PEFC, 2018)