Forests Stewardship Council (FSC)

FSC has 28,000 certificate holders in 81 countries worldwide. It works with 150,000 smallholders around the world, and is increasingly working with indigenous groups around the world. In 2013, FSC formed the Permanent Indigenous Peoples’ Committee to ensure that indigenous people have a say in the way forests are managed.

Over 180 million hectares are FSC certified.

98% of the respondents of the 2012 FSC Global Market Survey see the value that FSC certification adds to their products and businesses, and plan to keep their FSC certification


FSC is a global, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide.

We enable businesses and consumers to make informed choices about the forest products they buy, and create positive change by engaging the power of market dynamics.

Members include some of the world’s leading environmental NGOs (WWF and Greenpeace), businesses (Tetra Pak and Mondi PLC) and social organizations (the National Aboriginal Forestry Association of Canada) , as well as forest owners and managers, processing companies and campaigners, and individuals.

Together these diverse voices define best practices for forestry that addresses social and environmental issues. The membership consensus sets the FSC Principles and Criteria - the highest standards of forest management which are environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.

Diversity is FSC’s strength ...

To make sure no one viewpoint dominates the others, our membership has three chambers – environmental, social and economic – that have equal rights in decision-making. Also, to ensure that we have globally fair representation, members represent either North or South sub-chambers.

Ensuring environmental, social and economic benefits
FSC certification ensures that products come from well managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

Forest owners and managers may want to become FSC certified to demonstrate that they are managing their forests responsibly. Along the supply chain, FSC certification can provide benefits such as access to new markets.

Practices for best forest management

The FSC Principles and Criteria (P&C) set out best practices for forest management. In many countries, FSC Regional or National Standards are developed by FSC working groups. Regional and national standards transfer the P&C to the specific conditions and context found in each country or region.

Forest managers or owners who want to achieve FSC Forest Management Certification contract an FSC accredited certification body to carry out an assessment. The certification body checks that the operation complies with all relevant FSC requirements. If it does, they issue a FSC forest management certificate, which is valid for five years and monitored annually to make sure the company continues to meet FSC standards. If the forest owner or manager wishes to sell FSC certified products, they will also need chain of custody certification.

Chain of custody certification applies to manufacturers, processors and traders of FSC certified forest products. It verifies FSC certified forest products along the production chain. At each stage in the chain of processing and transformation, chain of custody certification is needed to confirm that FSC certified wood products are kept separate from uncertified products, or mixed in approved ways.

Global strategy
Goal 1: Advancing globally responsible forest management
In the face of new challenges for forest management – such as those associated with climate change and the increasing use of biofuels – FSC will strive to engage all regions, forest types and forest managers in the responsible management of forest resources.

Goal 2: Ensure equitable access to the benefits of FSC systems
FSC will develop mechanisms to support forest managers who seek certification in areas where uptake of FSC certification has been slower – among smallholders, community forests and forests managed at a low intensity, especially in the tropics. We will ensure that the economic benefits of FSC certification are more evenly distributed throughout the supply chain.

Goal 3: Ensure integrity, credibility and transparency of the FSC system
FSC will maintain trust in the FSC brand. We will put in place a system to evaluate how well we deliver on our vision, mission and value proposition. We will implement systematic monitoring and evaluation, dedicated research and development, and regular stakeholder surveys.

Goal 4: Create business value for products from FSC certified forests
FSC will become more ‘market facing’ by ensuring our services and activities reward those who buy and sell FSC certified products. We will develop direct, professional relationships with senior representatives of the world’s top 20 forest product companies. We will vigorously explore the potential of combining FSC and Fair Trade certifications to support small scale and community forestry, especially in emerging markets.

Goal 5: Strengthen the global network to deliver on goals 1 through 4
FSC will develop systems to allow us to balance accountability to our key partners, constituents and stakeholders with responsiveness to fast-changing market demands. We will support a strong network of National Partners and overhaul operational and decision-making structures to clarify the division of responsibility between national and international levels.

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