Demonstrating the Impact of FSC Certification
Measuring how FSC certification affects forests, people, and business practices
Given the broad scope of FSC certification, we have many different approaches that measure the social, economic, and environmental impact of what we do. You can read stories about our work in a forest near you here.
FSC theory of change
Firstly, we set out to create a theory of change (ToC). A ToC is the basis from which organizations can map out their intended impacts and the changes they need to make to achieve them. Our ToC sets out to assess how our efforts will improve the environmental, social, and economic management of forests.
Developing a ToC helps us to articulate our intended impact, our contribution to wider sustainability goals, and the supporting strategies required to achieve it.
Monitoring and evaluation reports
FSC runs a monitoring and evaluation initiative intended to help businesses understand our system and the impact it delivers. We produce yearly reports that demonstrate how we are contributing towards the social, environmental, and economic welfare of forests.
These reports also showcase ongoing research projects that assess the effectiveness of the FSC system.
You can find the latest reports at the bottom of this page. You can also view a number of independent research studies into the FSC system via the Sustainability Impact Learning Platform.
Internally generated data
We produce a significant amount of information from certification assessments. Each FSC-certified forest must have an annual assessment carried out by an FSC-accredited certification body that reports the actions the forest owner has taken to gain, or maintain, FSC certification. These reports focus on twelve indicators of impact, including: ecosystem services; biodiversity; health and safety; and . If in the instance that forest management does not meet FSC requirements, corrective actions are requested. Details of these reports can be found on the FSC certificate holder database.
FSC supports independent research that looks into the effectiveness of its system. These are carried out by universities, research institutions, and other organizations around the world.This research includes: analysis of certification reports; forestry case studies; socio-political case studies; and economic analysis of timber markets. FSC provides researchers with access to relevant information and creates dialogue between individuals and groups.We welcome the submission of new research papers related to FSC certification. Please contact us to find out more.
FSC is a member of the ISEAL Alliance, the global association for social and environmental standards systems. Together with other ISEAL Alliance members, FSC has developed the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Assessing the Impacts of Social and Environmental Standards. This code requires FSC, and other ISEAL Alliance members, to clearly state the changes they want to create in their respective fields, and to measure their progress continually. We cooperate closely with other members to revise this code and its related documents as needed.
- FSC Monitoring & Evaluation System – at a glance (1-pager)
- FSC’s Theory of Change – at a glance (1-pager)
- FSC Context, Figures, Effects and Impacts Report 2013
- FSC Monitoring and Evaluation System Report
- 2014 FSC Monitoring & Evaluation Report: Context, figures effects and impacts
- Overview of the FSC Theory of Change “Rewarding responsible forestry” V-2
- Theory of Change: FSC Intended Impacts and their contribution towards broader sustainability goals 2014-01 (VERSION 3)
- FSC Theory of Change - Impact pathways (Version 2)