There are a lot of acronyms and certifications out there for wood: but do you know what they truly mean? Or what purpose they serve? In this article, we’ll explore the mystery behind the letters.
Certifications and regulating bodies vary by country and region but speaking generally, they seek to certify that the wood in question comes from a responsibly managed forest anywhere in the world. There are two primary wood certifications in the world: FSC and PEFC. In this post, we’re going to take a deeper look at both.
Both FSC and PEFC certifications seek to verify that wood comes from sustainable sources, though they go about certifying it in different ways. Some companies choose to get one certification, while others prefer to boast both. Whichever they have, one thing is sure: their commitment to sustainability is clear.
If you care about sustainability, it is imperative to commit to using a sustainability-certified wood.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization that evaluates and awards a certification to wood that meets certain criteria. As wood is such a valuable resource but simultaneously one that is used frequently, the proper preservation of both it and its surroundings are key.
Here’s the process for the US’s first certifying body, the Forest Stewardship Council:
- The wood producer is visited by one of five auditing organizations in the United States.
- The auditor checks to ensure the following 10 standards are met:
- Comply with all applicable laws and regulations
- Maintain or enhance the social wellbeing of workers
- Identify and uphold Indigenous People’s legal and customary practices and land ownership rights
- Contribute to maintaining or enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of local communities
- Efficiently manage products to maintain long term economic viability and environmental and social benefits
- Maintain, conserve, or restore the local ecosystem
- Have a management plan consistent with management activities
- Prove that management plan is monitored and evaluated
- Maintain/enhance the high conservation values
- Ensure that management activities are in-line with the organization’s policies
- If these aspects are verified, the wood is awarded the FSC seal, which they can use in marketing and branding campaigns.
Another wood certifying body is the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which works internationally to certify forests with the help of independent third-party assessors that began in Europe. PEFC has four different document types, including the Chain of Custody certification which enables companies to demonstrate legal and sustainable sourcing of forest products.
The process for becoming PEFC Certified involves preparing all the necessary documents, setting up the management system in compliance with PEFC requirements, and receiving an audit from an independent assessor. He or she will check that all requirements are fulfilled, ranging from resource management and inspection and control to the declaration of outputs and identification of input material. Once compliance has been verified, companies can state that their products originate from sustainably managed forests.
Why is Using Certified Wood Important?
Responsible forestry is a commitment that everyone, regardless of where they fall in the wood supply chain, must undertake. By adhering to the requirements laid out by both the FSC and PEFC certifications, manufacturers and distributors can rest easy knowing that the wood they are using comes from sustainable and protected sources.
At Garnica, we carry that commitment close to heart and boast both the FSC and PEFC certifications for the wood used to manufacture our plywood. And this is just one part of our commitment to sustainability and proper forest management. If you’re ready to make the choice to work with a company that prioritizes sustainability, we’re the right choice. Start working with us today.