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FSC-Certified - What does it mean?

Here at Whistlefish for a number of years now we have been accredited with using FSC-certified paper for all of our fab greeting cards. We are proud of being able to stamp the back of each of our cards with the FSC-certified logo and we wanted to give you the chance to learn more about what it means and how it forms part of our Green Matters commitment. 

What is the FSC? 

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council and it’s a global, non-governmental organisation that was established in 1993 by a group of business, environmentalist and community leaders after the Earth Summit in Rio failed to produce an agreement to stop deforestation. It was created in an attempt to protect both the world’s forests and its forest-dependent communities.

What does the FSC do?

FSC helps take care of forests and the people and wildlife who call them home. The FSC system can help businesses and consumers to choose wood, paper and other forest products such as cork and latex, from well-managed forests and/or verified, recycled sources. FSC certification tracks forest products from the forest through each stage of processing, conversion, printing and distribution. In order for the final product to carry an FSC label, every stage must be covered by FSC certification.

Why choose an FSC-certified product?

FSC certification provides consumers the choice to choose forest products like paper and wood that have been obtained in an environmentally-friendly, socially accountable and economically feasible manner.

The last decade has seen over 90 million hectares being certified according to FSC standards in upwards of 70 countries. Thousands of products around the world use the FSC standard and trademark. It is recognized as a symbol between governments, private industry and discerning consumers about the environmentally friendly nature of the product.
This certification shows the commitment of our company and its people towards preserving the world’s forests.

What’s the difference between FSC and recycled paper?

A common misconception is to confuse FSC paper with recycled paper. There is a basic difference in the production of both the types of paper, although both are equally beneficial to the environment, but differ in standards of quality.

A forest receives an FSC certification when all the criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council are maintained by the management of the forest. On receiving an FSC certification, the paper prepared from the wood taken from this forest also receives an FSC certification. FSC papers are a result of a well-managed forest.

The FSC demands a management plan. It must include information such as description of the measure and amount of logging and renewal operations in the forest, as well as long-term goals and monitoring of the ecology of the area, to ensure that what is cut down is being resown.

Recycled paper on the other hand is generated from either 100% waste paper or a combination of post-consumer and pre-consumer paper waste. There are ranges for recycled paper from 10% post-consumer waste paper to 100% post-consumer waste paper. There is a marked difference between FSC certified paper and recycled paper, primarily of price and quality.

Why prefer FSC Certified Paper?

FSC certified paper, unlike recycled paper,is typically composed of virgin tree fibers,not of pre- or post-consumer recycled materials (although recycled paper can also be FSC certified paper at times). The paper can be eco-friendly when the wood pulp used to manufacture it is used from a well-managed forest.

Like many other green catchphrases, a sustainable ecology too can be vague. An FSC-certified label by the Forest Stewardship Council offers strict standards that products must meet before they are declared truly environmentally and socially responsible.

These products go through a chain of possession, from the forest to the manufacturer to the merchant and finally to the printer. They also ask for a management plan that outlines the scale and intensity of logging and renewal operations to maintain the health of the forest.

The battle to save the planet’s forest is not of any one country or people, it is a battle of everyone who calls this planet home. Corporates, companies and universities in the business of marcom can make a difference by using only FSC certified products, the benefits far outstrip the costs.