Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification from the Rainforest Alliance is a chain of custody, or COC, certification that helps consumers choose products made from raw ingredients that were derived from forests that were certified to be FSC forests.
What are FSC Forests?
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international organization that is dedicated to responsible forestry. In order for forests to be certified by the organization they have to meet rigorous standards both environmentally and socially. What this means, in essence, is that these forests are cultivated with care for the environment, the ecosystems within the forest, and the communities that surround the forest.
The organization originated in an effort to curtail illegal exploitation of forests and amid concerns of deforestation worldwide. Not only is the organization committed to environmental conservation, but also seeks to alleviate poverty and empower populations socially and politically.
Members of the FSC come from a wide range of backgrounds within the forest industry, including the following.
- Plantation owners
- Forest owners
- Social groups
- Environmental organizations
- Timber industries
These members come from countries spanning the globe, and work together to encourage responsible stewardship of the remaining forests through a combination of proper management and conservation.
Many consider the FSC a sort of gold standard when it comes to forest management. It not only works to protect water quality and prevent the loss of natural forest cover, but it also prohibits the use of highly hazardous chemicals in the forests and protects the rights of indigenous populations and local communities as well.
What is the Rainforest Alliance?
While the FSC is the gold standard of forest management, the Rainforest Alliance is the foremost certifier of FSC forests. They have more than 20 years of experience certifying forests, and work in more than 70 countries. They are also one of the founders of the FSC.
What Does Rainforest Alliance FSC Certification Mean to Consumers?
First and foremost, the FSC certification adds an air of credibility to product claims of environmental or socially conscious production processes. Because the certification requires companies to behave in a manner that is beneficial to the planet, forests that have this certification make conserving resources and preserving forests a priority.
The certification also takes into account the local or indigenous populations. This certification seeks to protect the customary rights of the local communities and encourages them to make their voices heard and to become engaged in the cultivation of nearby forests.
Another thing that sets the FSC apart is that they require their certification audit results to be released to the public – even if the forests are on private lands. For the most part, companies that consider themselves green businesses or manufacturers look for FSC-certified raw materials to build their products with. This includes builders, manufacturers, and more, such as PlushBeds who uses PlushBeds’ Orthopedic Foundations, which are FSC Certified through the Rainforest Alliance.
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