FSC LABELS – DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?
What it means when you see the FSC label on a product
FSC labels can be found on millions of products around the world: from toilet roll to your favourite book, that milk carton in your fridge, and other food products. What does it all mean?
Simply put, all of our labels provide you with an assurance that the product you are buying is made from wood from responsible sources.
There are three types of FSC on-product labels.
The FSC 100% label means that the wood within the product comes completely from FSC-certified forests. Research suggests one-third of all FSC-certified products are FSC 100%. (FSC Global Market Survey Report 2014)
The FSC Recycled label means all the wood or paper in the product comes from reclaimed (re-used) material.
The FSC Mix label means the wood within the product is from FSC-certified material, recycled material, or controlled wood. While not fully FSC-certified, controlled wood cannot be:
- illegally harvested;
- harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights;
- harvested in forests where high conservation values (HCVs) are threatened;
- harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use;
- harvested in forests where genetically modified trees are planted.
Why are there three FSC labels?
The great thing about the FSC on-product labels is that once you know about them, you will see them everywhere. But the sourcing of wood is complex, and we need to carefully track how products get from forest to store. So, behind every label, we work to assure you that the product has been made with forest materials from responsible sources.
One day, we hope that every product will be labelled FSC 100%. But, right now, we have to be realistic about supply versus demand. Certifying a forest takes time and, of course, we also need to wait for trees to grow. But the more you choose FSC-certified products, the more companies will want to meet that demand and will work to be become FSC certified.
Whichever FSC label is on your product, you can be sure that you’re supporting a product that has not been manufactured at the expense of the forest, or the animals, plants, and people who rely on it. So keep an eye out for the FSC label on your next trip to the supermarket, furniture store, or coffee shop. We all make choices every day – and now, when you see any of the three FSC labels, you can make a choice that helps take care of the world’s forests.
WHY AN FSC-CERTIFIED PRODUCT DOES NOT MEAN A COMPANY IS FSC CERTIFIED
Any company that wants to add the FSC label to any of the products it makes must first receive chain of custody (CoC) certification. This certification proves it is sourcing materials from FSC-certified forests, and following FSC-defined best practice throughout the production process and supply chain.
Only products that use FSC-certified materials can carry the on-product label. So, just because one product carries it, does not mean all products from the same company are made from responsibly sourced materials. You still need to inspect individual products to find out which come from responsible sources and which do not, even if the same company makes both products.
Retailers selling products they have not made themselves may apply to use the FSC logo without being certified. They are only allowed to use the logos to promote the FSC-certified products that they sell.