Certified wood is a wood or paper product coming from responsibly managed forests. This certification is authenticated by Forest Certification, an independent organization that develops standards of good forest management, with independent auditors to issue certificates to forest operations that comply with those standards.
Basic requirements of credible forest certification programs include:
- A rigorous, science-based standard that covers key values such as protection of biodiversity, species at risk and wildlife habitat; sustainable harvest levels; protection of water quality; and prompt regeneration.
- Independent, third-party certification audits performed by internationally accredited certification bodies.
- Publicly available certification summary documents, with corrective actions listed.
- Transparent standard setting and complaints processes.
- Support from conservation organizations that share similar goals for responsible forest management
Today there are more than 50 certification programs worldwide. Globally, the two largest umbrella certification programs are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes programs (PEFC).
While the original intent of forest certification was to stem tropical deforestation, it has had the most uptake in developed nations such as North America.
- In North America, there are four certification programs:
- American Tree Farm System (ATFS),
- Canadian Standards Association (CSA),
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is now the world’s largest single forest certification standard, and according to the United Nations, is the fastest growing when it comes to chain of custody certifications. .
The National Association of State Foresters in the USA passed a resolution in 2008 that supports all of the forest certification systems used in the USA including the American Tree Farm System, the Forest Stewardship Council, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative: “While in different manners, the ATFS, FSC, and SFI systems include the fundamental elements of credibility and make positive contributions to forest sustainability. . . . No certification program can credibly claim to be ‘best’, and no certification program that promotes itself as the only certification option can maintain credibility. Forest ecosystems are complex and a simplistic ‘one size fits all’ approach to certification cannot address all sustainability needs.”.
While forest certification is becoming more popular, it still remains that only 10% of the world’s forest are certified to any certification program, so there is still a large supply of non-certified fiber in the market. Customers that choose to buy certified products are supporting the top tier of environmental performers in the forestry industry.
See also Edit
- Green building
- Environmental audits
- Forest protection
- GREENGUARD Environmental Institute
- Sustainable forest management
- Sustainable management
- Wood management
- Forest Certification Resource Center
- Forest Stewardship Council
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- PEFC International website — Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes
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