The phrase is thrown around quite a lot in the green building and green product worlds. A piece of furniture made from FSC-certified wood is greener than one made from traditionally-harvested wood -- just like FSC-certified paper is greener than regular paper.
But why? What does FSC-certified mean? We did a little digging.
First off, FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, a global non-profit organization that promotes the socially- and environmentally-responsible management of forests.
The wood in our homes and in our furniture (obviously) comes from forests. And, most of us know that in many places timber is logged illegally with little regard to the environment. As a result, forests are being devastated. So, as a solution, the FSC looks to reward forest managers who follow the FSC's guidelines in their timber harvesting.
These are FSC's guidelines (straight from their web site):
- prohibits conversion of natural forests or other habitat around the world
- prohibits the use of highly hazardous pesticides around the world
- prohibits the cultivation of genetically modified trees (GMOs)
- respects the right of indigenous peoples around the world
- controls each certified operation at least once a year – and if they are found not to comply, the certificate is withdrawn
Of course, in the world of green materials, rarely is anything as simple as it seems. It is worth mentioning that the FSC does have its critics -- and has been accused of certifying the logging of old-growth forests (among other things). For that side of the story, check out FSC Watch. Or read about FSC's supporters and critics here.
Next to repurposed/salvaged, FSC-certified is generally considered the greenest option when it comes to building with wood.
What are your thoughts?
image via Jeff Epp; Flickr.com