It is the certification system for forests, wood and derived products that ensures that the products come from forests managed pursuant to strict environmental, social and economic standards. The Forest Stewardship Council is the non-profit organisation born in Mexico in 1994 and transferred to Bonn in 2003 that issues the certification necessary in order to be able to use the label on the basis of audits performed on the forests where the wood is extracted and in the course of all subsequent production phases, down to the consumer, and that concern environmental and social-ethical aspects. It is a label similar to Type I for the existence of a third certification body.
The FSC forest management principles can be summarised in ten points:
respect of national laws and international agreements;
recognition and respect of indigenous people’s rights;
protection of property rights and of the use of forest resources;
respect of the rights of workers and of the wellbeing of the local communities;
equitable use of benefits derived from the forest;
safeguard of environmental impacts (preservation of biodiversities, landscape, etc.);
actuation of a forest management plan; 8. monitoring and assessment of the forest and its management;
safeguarding the forests of high environmental value;
attentive management of the plantations.
Although the numbers are continuously on the rise, for an idea of the vastness of the FSC label, we should consider that currently, about 72 million hectares are certified in the world in over 790 locations; that means 13.000 product lines certified, for a global market of over 5 billion US$.
In Italy, the FSC-Italia group was created in 2001 and counts 60 members. It supports the dissemination of the FSC system through training, information and technical assistance, to attain good forest management standards both in the Alpine region and the Apennine and Mediterranean forests. Currently, in Italy, about 43.000 hectares are certified and the label is found on about 500 products wood and derived products, among them, flooring material, paper and cellulose, furniture doors, windows and doors, panels, toys, utensils, etc…