Protect forests by looking for FSC® certification

In this post, we explore the benefits of FSC® certification and share the best places to find FSC® certified furniture and other products for your home.

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Even in this modern age, our lives are pretty reliant on trees. From the furniture and fixtures in our homes, to the numerous paper products we rely on, or the shade that makes life more tolerable in these increasingly hot summers. Many of us also just genuinely respect and enjoy trees. The term “tree hugger” came from somewhere, right? 

If you hug trees or simply understand their importance for our survival, you’ll start to realize how important it is to responsibly manage the way that we care for, harvest, and utilize them. You may start to wish that someone out there was making it easier for you to find products made from sustainably harvested trees. 

It’s your lucky day! One of the best-known sustainable certifications covers the responsible management of forests and wood products and is governed by the Forrest Stewardship Council. The FSC® certification and corresponding logo is one of the best indicators that the tree harvested for that product was done in a responsible manner. 

dark forest with green grass and blue sky

What are some of the ways forests can be mismanaged?

The negative results of poor forestry management are numerous and we’ve highlighted some of the biggest challenges below.

  • Deforestation and illegal logging – While wood is a renewable and potentially sustainable material, high demand can lead to legal or illegal deforestation. Depleting forests can have disastrous impacts on people and the environment.
  • Loss of biodiversity – All over the planet humans and animals rely on forests for many important things such as shelter, food, and even medicine. As we destroy forests, we continue to deplete our ecosystems' biodiversity, which negatively impacts all species that rely on them.
  • Impacts on Indigenous communities – Many communities rely on forests for their livelihoods. The destruction of forests can have disastrous consequences in these communities and beyond. 
  • Carbon emissions – Deforestation can result in the loss of the carbon that had been sequestered in each tree, further fueling climate change.

What does the FSC® logo mean?

The Forest Stewardship Council asserts that when you purchase a product with the FSC® certification logo, you’re supporting:

  • Zero deforestation
  • Fair wage and work environments
  • Plant and animal species conservation
  • The rights of communities surrounding FSC® certified forests

While it’s clear that looking for FSC® certification is a better choice for the environment, it’s important to note that it’s also an indicator that a product that has considered its impact on people as well. This includes both employees who worked to manufacture or harvest a product and also the people who live around, and often rely upon, forested areas.

What are the types of FSC® certification?

You may come across 3 types of FSC®-certified logos

  • FSC® 100%- This indicates that 100% of the materials used in a particular product are FSC certified.
  • FSC® recycled – If you see a FSC® recycled logo, you know that 100% of the materials in that product are recycled which is great because there’s less demand for new trees to be harvested.
  • FSC® mix – The FSC® mix logo indicates, as you’d expect, that the product you are considering is made of a mixture of materials. These can include FSC® certified wood, recycled materials, or FSC® controlled wood. Exactly what FSC® controlled means is a little vague but while it is not fully FSC® certified, wood that is deemed controlled by FSC® mitigates the worst types of sources. 

Why buy FSC® certified furniture?

Because such a large share of the furniture we put in our homes is made of wood, looking for the FSC®  certification when shopping for home goods is an important step. Buying FSC® certified furniture offers several benefits that contribute to environmental, social, and economic stability. Here are some compelling reasons to consider purchasing FSC-certified furniture.

Protects forests

FSC® certification ensures that the wood used in furniture comes from forests managed according to strict environmental and social standards. By buying FSC® certified furniture, you support responsible forest management practices that help conserve biodiversity, protect ecosystems, and maintain the health of forests.

Supports Local Communities

FSC® certification includes social criteria that promote the rights and well-being of workers and local communities. Buying FSC® certified furniture supports fair labor practices and community engagement in forest management decisions.

Eco-Friendly Choice

FSC® certified furniture helps reduce the environmental footprint associated with furniture production and encourages the use of renewable resources. This contributes to mitigating climate change and preserving valuable natural habitats.

Encourages Industry Responsibility

Your purchasing decisions send a message to manufacturers and retailers about consumer preferences for sustainability. Supporting FSC® certified furniture encourages more companies to adopt responsible sourcing practices.

Contributes to Certification Growth

Increased demand for FSC® certified products helps promote the expansion of sustainable forest management practices and FSC®  certification, creating a positive feedback loop for more responsible forestry

When shopping for FSC® certified furniture, look for the FSC® logo and certification number/license on the product or its packaging. This provides assurance that the furniture meets FSC®‘s stringent standards for responsible sourcing and supports sustainable forestry practices.

What are some FSC® certified furniture companies?

  •  Sabai: Sabai shows up on just about every list we have of sustainable companies, so of course they’re on this one! Their Essential sofa uses FSC® certified wood.
  • West Elm: A subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, West Elm offers FSC® certified furniture and home goods.
  • Herman Miller: This company is renowned for its office furniture and has a history of using FSC® certified materials. Additionally, they were awarded the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) Leadership Award in 2015 and 2020.
  • Crate & Barrel: This home furnishings retailer has offered FSC® certified furniture and products as part of their sustainability efforts. Their site makes it easy to filter to find these products.
  • Room & Board: Known for modern and sustainable furniture designs, Room & Board features FSC® certified options and has great sustainability goals when it comes to wood sourcing.
  • Copeland Furniture: A Vermont-based company specializing in high-quality, handmade furniture often using FSC® certified wood.
  • DWR (Design Within Reach): DWR has offered a selection of FSC® certified furniture and design pieces.
  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams: This company has shown a commitment to sustainable practices and has offered FSC® certified products.

Where can I find FSC® certified lumber?

The good news is that FSC® certified wood and wood-based products can be found at many of the stores where you probably already shop. This includes lumberyards, local sawmills, specialty retailers, online marketplaces, and home improvement stores. 

Just look for the FSC® logo or, when in doubt, ask a store clerk or look online. Generally, companies who take the time to source their wood responsibly are eager to share that information with their customers.

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