According to AGDA (Australian Graphic Design Association) Code of Ethics…
2.1 – A Member shall work in a manner so that as little harm (direct or indirect) as possible is caused to the natural environment.
So it makes me wonder… how many of you actually know what the logo above means? You would most probably have seen it on the back of a brochure or catalogue – well in this article we* hope to shed some light on what the FSC (Forest Steward Council) certification actually means, and how you too can use it to help sustain the world’s forests.
What is the FSC (Forest Steward Council)?
FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established in 1993 to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
It provides standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services for companies and organisations interested in responsible forestry. Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.
How does FSC implement this?
FSC developed “The Chain of Custody Process” which insures trees cut from FSC managed forests will go through the FSC certified process. This rigorous 5 step process ensures that all environmental and social obligations have been followed and have achieved the stamp of approval – the FSC logo (as seen below).
For example, if you receive a postcard with this symbol on it, you will know that it has gone through 5 different FSC certified processes since it was cut down. The chain goes something like this Pulp Manufacturer > Paper Manufacturer > Paper Merchant > (Designer) > Printer > Approval from FSC.
Where does the FSC logo go and what does it mean?
The FSC logo goes on any piece of design that is printed on FSC certified paper and is printed through an FSC certified printer. It is also appears on timber and other items that are FSC certified.
Once you have completed your own design and you have put the FSC logo in its place, you then submit your design to the printer… the printer then needs to submit the piece and all specs to FSC to get the green light to print.
In most cases, underneath the FSC logo it will contain a certification number. This contains the printers ID number, percentage of post consumer waste plus any other recycled information. This information helps verify that the Chain of Custody process has been followed.
What can you do to help support FSC?
Image credit: Bunnyrel
FSC’s mission is to improve the management of the world’s forests. There are many ways you can support:
- as a consumer you can buy FSC certified products
- as a business in the forest products business, you can become FSC certified
- you can promote the FSC by using the FSC logo on your products (you must be authorised to do so – information here)
- everybody interested in the fate of the world’s forests can become an FSC member and actively contribute to the future of the organisation.
And just so you know… only 7 percent of the world’s productive forests are FSC certified. This global organisation, active in 79 countries, has an extremely ambitious agenda, a long way to go and must do everything possible to keep itself above reproach.
In saying that, worth mentioning is FSC Watch – an independent website (not associated with FSC) dedicated to encouraging the scrutiny of the FSC’s activities. FSC Watch aims to increase the integrity of the FSC’s forest certification scheme.
Have you ever been involved in an FSC project? Have you got any more information to share? Please let us know in the comments below.
*This article was written in collaboration with Jessica Mahoney.