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What Is Certified Wood?

January 1, 2012

What Is Certified Wood?

By Green Living Tips | Published 11/18/2011 | building

An Introduction To Wood Certifications

Deforestation has a huge environmental impact and it can be difficult to tell if the wood in items we purchase are contributing to this unfolding disaster.

If you’re concerned about the provenance (origin) of wood you buy – whether the wood is in furniture, lumber or even the wood used to make paper goods; looking for certifications might provide you with some reassurance.

A product containing certified wood is one where the wood used has been verified as harvested in a sustainable way – including the impact of the harvesting on the surrounding environment in terms of protecting the biodiversity of an area, erosion control and preserving water resources.

The certification usually also has some social justice aspects in terms of the way workers in associated forestry operations are treated and the impact on local/indigenous communities.

Chain of Custody

Something you’ll often see mentioned in relation to certified wood is Chain of Custody (CoC). This relates to tracking certified raw materials from a forest right through to the final product to ensure that the wood contained in the end product still meets certification criteria. Without this form of tracking, a product may just have a small component that comes from a certified forest and consumers could be misled into believing the product was 100% certified wood.

Probably the best known certification systems are from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the latter incorporating a number of programs around the world.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The FSC describes their certification as being:

“..a voluntary, market-based tool that supports responsible forest management worldwide. FSC certified forest products are verified from the forest of origin through the supply chain. The FSC label ensures that the forest products used are from responsibly harvested and verified sources.”

10 principles and 56 associated criteria form the basis for all Forest Stewardship Council forest management standards. They include:

– Conversion of forests or any other natural habitat is prohibited

– International workers rights must be respected

– A ban on the use of hazardous chemicals

– The rights of indigenous peoples must be respected

– Bribery and other forms of corruption prohibited

– Appropriate management of areas requiring special protection

Companies participating in the program are able to display an FSC logo:

On the actual product, below the logo will be a serial code assigned to the supplier/company. The code can be verified via the FSC online database.

One of several different certifications should also appear on goods%

via What Is Certified Wood?.

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