We all love our forests, which are home to nearly half of the world's species, but we also use tree-based products everyday. The average American uses nearly six trees each year worth of paper alone. We still need to write those thank you notes, so how can we be more sustainable and thoughtful about our paper choices?
Look for the FSC certification logo! The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit that was created in 1993 to combat deforestation and protect our treasured forest ecosystems. The organization sets strict standards to independently certify forests so customers can be confident that their products were sourced from responsibly managed forests. The best part is that its success is solely driven by consumer demand, which has increased tremendously over the past 20 years. Today more than 400 million acres of forest are FSC certified, approximately 10% of the world’s working forests. Another example of how our purchasing choices really can move the needle!
With the growing focus on sustainable practices and products, it's sometimes hard to determine if a product is actually environmentally friendly or just another example of widespread greenwashing. This is one of the benefits of the FSC certification. FSC has become the standard of sustainable forest management, and when you see their logo you can be certain the product's wood was harvested responsibly and you're protecting rare, old-growth forests and preventing deforestation (FSC prohibits the conversion of natural forest to plantations or other non-forest uses).
The Forest Stewardship Council says its vision is to "meet our current needs for forest products without compromising the health of the world’s forests for future generations."
We did want to point out that FSC-certified paper doesn't mean it's recycled (although some recycled products can also be FSC-certified), and both of these are important. The reality is that certain products require at least a percentage of virgin wood to produce. According to the Forest Stewardship Council, the U.S. consumes 100 million tons of paper annually, and recycled paper makes up just 35% of that amount; the remainder has to come from timber forests. So, why not look for both recycled and FSC content? Best of both worlds!
Thankfully, the FSC certification isn't just limited to paper; it applies to any product that comes from trees. So, whether it's furniture, lumber, tissues, and even the packaging of other products, look for the FSC logo and feel better about where it came from!