Perhaps one of the most significant businesses to have affected the print industry, the FSC is vital to the continued success and growth of an industry that is almost entirely reliant on trees. Their tagline says all you need to know: “Forests For All Forever”. But, it’s how they underpin this effort which makes them a genuinely game-changing business.

Here, we take a look at how the FSC came to be such a necessary component of not only the print industry but industries across the spectrum.

What is the FSC?

Founded in 1993, the FSC, standing for Forest Stewardship Council, is a non-profit organisation that works to promote and encourage sustainable management of forests across the globe. Their mission statement is ‘The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) shall promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.’

Forest with sun shining through

Breaking it Down a Little

For the FSC to have been so successful in their mission, a criterion is required so that all participating forest owners can align themselves to ensure they are managing their woodland responsibly and sustainably. There are ten main principles that guide the FSC in the work they do; these are:

Compliance with Laws

This ensures that the FSC complies with any and all applicable laws both globally and locally in the work they do, along with any treaties, agreements or conventions.

Rights and Employment Conditions of Workers

The FSC should always look to either maintain or enhance the economic and social wellbeing of the workers within the forests in which they operate.

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

With many more remote forests occupied by indigenous populations, the FSC will uphold the legal and customary rights of ownership for the indigenous peoples, along with their use and management of the land, resources and territories affected by the FSC’s activities.

Community Relations

This ensures that the FSC will contribute to either maintaining or enhancing the economic and social wellbeing of local populations within the forests in which they operate.

Forest Benefits

This principle concerns the managing of the management unit within each forest, along with the products and services offered, to ensure long term economic viability of the location, along with the range of environmental and social benefits.

Person holding soil and roots in their hands

Environmental Values and Impact

The FSC will work to maintain and restore environmental values and ecosystem services of the locations management unit. Additionally, they will look to avoid, repair or mitigate any negative impacts on the environment.

Management Planning

The FSC will coordinate and control management plans across their locations which align with policies and objectives of the organisation. These will be appropriate for the intensity, scale and risks of its management activities.

This plan will be put in place and regularly updated to promote an active management style.

Monitoring and Assessment

This shows that the FSC will demonstrate any progress that has been made towards achieving the management objectives. Additionally, showing that the location’s management unit will be monitored and evaluated appropriately, applying adaptive management.

High Conservation Values

The FSC will look to implement high conservational values within the management unit of the location.

Forest of trees with blue sky

Management Activities

All actions from a management standpoint will be selected and implemented according to the FSC’s environmental, social and economic policies and objectives.

The Benefits of Having the FSC

The FSC has contributed significantly to the increased responsibility and sustainability when managing forests across the world. Not only has it ensured that forests which were previously ravaged by profit-greedy owners have become sustainably managed, ensuring longevity for future owners, but it has also mitigated the negative environmental effects that come with deforestation.

Consistent Benchmarking

The FSC, being a global organisation, provides a consistent benchmark for both producers and consumers of wood and paper-based products, so they know where they stand. For example, all products that are 100% FSC-certified will have been sourced solely from locations that are FSC approved.

Similarly, products that have the recycled or mix labels have been created from either wholly recycled or reclaimed material, or a mix of recycled, certified or controlled respectively.

Benefits of The FSC in the Print Industry

Trees with sun shining through

The FSC is based on two different key components, the forest management certification, which is responsible for ensuring that forests and woodlands across the globe are managed properly. Then, there is the chain of custody, which is where the print industry comes in.

The chain of custody ensures that FSC-sourced products have been checked at each stage of the sourcing process, to ensure the end customer can be 100% certain their product is FSC-certified. For us at Brightsea, we always look to use FSC-certified stock for printing, which can be selected by the customer for no extra charge.

For printers that have been FSC-certified, this means that all of their products printed using FSC paper and other material can carry the FSC logo and provide peace of mind for their customers. Although the print industry does have some stigma attached from an environmental point of view, the FSC has taken large steps in managing expectations from both print customers and the general public.

If you’re looking to source eco-friendly printing, look no further than us here at Brightsea! We are an FSC-certified supplier and continue to search for new ways to minimise or offset our impact on the environment.

You can find out more about our environmental commitment in our booklet here!