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CARIBBEAN - conservation

Forest Stewardship Council

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In many forests around the world, logging still contributes to habitat destruction, water pollution , displacement of indigenous peoples, and violence against people who work in the forest and the wildlife that dwells there. Many consumers of wood and paper, and many forest products companies believe that the link between logging and these negative impacts can be broken, and that forests can be managed and protected at the same time. Forest Stewardship Council certification is one way to improve the practice of forestry.

Who are we?

The Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization founded in 1993 to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests.

It is an association of Members consisting of a diverse group of representatives from environmental and social groups, the timber trade and the forestry profession, indigenous people's organizations, community forestry groups and forest product certification organizations from around the world. Membership is open to all who are involved in forestry or forest products and share its aims and objectives.

An Executive Director and a highly trained staff run FSC on a day-to-day basis from a head office in the city of Bonn, Germany. It is controlled by an elected Board, which consists of people from industry, conservation groups, indigenous people's representatives and others.

What is FSC-US?

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way.

Landowners and companies that sell timber or forest products seek certification as a way to verify to consumers that they have practiced forestry consistent with FSC standards. Independent, certification organizations are accredited by FSC to carry out assessments of forest management to determine if standards have been met. These certifiers also verify that companies claiming to sell FSC certified products have tracked their supply back to FSC certified sources. This chain of custody certification assures that consumers can trust the FSC label.

Trusted environmental organizations including Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, and World Wildlife Fund all support and encourage FSC certification. Consumers wishing to support healthy forests and communities should look and ask for the FSC label when purchasing wood or paper products.

FSC-US, based in Washington, DC, is the U.S. “chapter” of FSC International, based in Bonn Germany. For more information about FSC at the International level, please visit


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What we do ?

The Forest Stewardship Council's principle activities are the development of forest management and related standards, communications and education, and through a separate program the accreditation and monitoring of certification bodies working to FSC standards.

Based on these standards, FSC has developed an international labeling scheme for forest products. In this way FSC provides an incentive in the market place for good forest stewardship. The forest inspections are carried out by a number of FSC accredited certification bodies, which are evaluated and monitored to ensure their competence and credibility.

FSC also supports the development of national and local standards that implement the international Principles and Criteria of Forest Stewardship at the local level. These standards are developed by national and regional working groups, which work to achieve consensus amongst the wide range of people and organizations involved in forest management and conservation in each part of the world. FSC has developed Guidelines for developing regional certification standards to guide working groups in this process.

Why we do it ?

There is huge public concern about the destruction of the world's forests. More and more people demand products that come from well-managed forests. This demand has led to many different labels on forest products, making claims such as 'for every tree felled at least two are planted'. Many of these claims are irrelevant or misleading. An authoritative study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found that of a sample of 80 different environmental claims found on wood and paper products, only three could even be partially substantiated.

FSC aims to clear up the confusion by providing a truly independent, international and credible labeling scheme on timber and timber products. This will provide the consumer with a guarantee that the product has come from a forest, which has been evaluated and certified as being managed according to agreed social, economic and environmental standards.

How we do it?

The Forest Stewardship Council has developed rigorous procedures and standards to evaluate whether organizations (certification bodies) can provide an independent and competent forest evaluation (certification) service. This process is known as 'accreditation'. FSC accredited certification bodies are required to evaluate all forests aiming for certification according to the FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship.

Accredited certification bodies may operate internationally and may carry out evaluations in any forest type. Certified forests are visited on a regular basis, to ensure they continue to comply with the Principles and Criteria. The performance of the certification bodies is closely monitored by FSC. Products originating from forests certified by FSC-accredited certification bodies are eligible to carry the FSC-logo, if the chain-of-custody (tracking of the timber from the forest to the shop) has been checked.

Look out for our logo. When you see it you can be confident that the labeled product comes from a well-managed forest. By buying these products you are supporting good forest stewardship and providing the incentive to encourage other organizations to improve their management.

If you cannot find the FSC logo on the products you need to ask the shop to stock them. The more customers request for products from well-managed forests, the greater is the incentive for forest owners to provide them. In this way individuals, companies and organizations can exert a direct and positive influence to improve stewardship of the world's forests. If you work in a company, organization or statutory body encourage them to specify FSC-endorsed sources every time they make a purchase whether it is for office paper or for a major construction project.

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