Friday 24 September is FSC Friday. It’s an annual event organised by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to raise awareness of their work and what we can all do, at work or at home, to support it.
This year’s theme ‘Save our forests. Save our climate.’ aims to highlight the FSC’s support for international climate change initiatives and the important contribution responsible forestry makes to these efforts.
An international non-governmental organisation, the FSC is dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. It runs a global forest certification system that includes two key components: forest management and Chain of Custody, which combine to help fight climate change by supporting and promoting biodiversity protection, nature conservation and forest landscape restoration. Nearly 2.6 billion tonnes, or one-third of all CO2 released from fossil fuels are absorbed by forests every year.¹
But, as more and more of us turn to paper-based packaging and other products over plastic, how can we be sure that the wood used to make them comes from forests that are managed sustainably and that we aren’t inadvertently contributing to the climate crisis?
Look Out For The FSC Label
When you buy a product carrying the FSC label, you can be assured that any trees used to make it were harvested and replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally without harm to people, wildlife or the environment. The FSC label carries a Chain of Custody code, which enables the product to be tracked from the forest to the store – every link between the forest and the consumer is certified, making it easy to identify what is FSC certified and what isn’t; if it doesn’t carry the label, it isn’t certified!
Common FSC-Certified Paper Products
Next time you’re buying paper or paper packaging, look out for products with the FSC label:
- Paper – whether it’s A4 paper for your printer or note paper, there are plenty of FSC-certified options available from your local stationer or supermarket.
- Greeting cards – check on the back of the card for the FSC label.
- Wrapping paper – more and more retailers are selling FSC certified wrapping paper. It’s worth remembering, however, that if you’re hoping to recycle wrapping paper and greeting cards that embellishments such as ribbons or glitter aren’t recyclable so will need to be removed before putting them in the recycling bin – or opt for plain and simple if you can.
- Food packaging – with the shift away from plastic, more food is being packaged into paperboard cartons; if it’s FSC-certified paperboard, the label will be printed somewhere on the packaging.
- Tissues and toilet roll – of course, softness is important, but so is the planet, so look out for the FSC logo!
You can find details of other FSC-certified products here.
Other Labels To Look Out For
As well as FSC, there are other organisations and bodies from around the world that promote and support sustainable forestry and the production of paper products that we might find for sale here in the UK. The most common ones to look out for are:
EU Ecolabel – recognised across Europe and worldwide, the EU Ecolabel is a label of environmental excellence that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle: from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal.
PEFC – Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organisation that promotes sustainable forest management through independent third party certification.