A glance into forest certification 101. What forest landowners must comply with in order to meet the standards of responsible forestry and the commitments they have promised to consumers.
Much of the world is under the misconception that paper is a wasteful, environmentally irresponsible product. But the opposite is true.
Forest products, like paper, come from a renewable resource – trees. The key is for the owners of those trees to manage their land responsibly, ensuring these forests remain forests for years to come. That way, the benefits they provide – cleaner air, greater biodiversity and raw material for many of the products we use every day, can continue on indefinitely.
One way forest landowners can demonstrate this responsibility is by having their lands certified.
But what is forest certification? Well, it is a way of monitoring, tracing and labeling timber, wood and pulp products using a set of agreed-upon standards that preserve forests.
And why should you care? Credible certification goes beyond logging practices and protection against deforestation. It takes into account the benefits to air and water quality, social and economic issues that affect people and communities, the protection of ecology, and potential mitigation of the effects of climate change. To be certified is not an easy task and the rules and regulations are rigorous; however, to understand why we have certifications, we begin with this Forest Certification 101 feature.
The management of forests first became a hot topic in the 1990s when increased concern over tropical deforestation among environmentalists resulted in a call to action. In response, several certification standards were developed as a way of ensuring more responsible maintenance of forests and harvesting practices.
Among the standards widely seen on paper products:
- Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
- Created in 1994, FSC is a global not-for-profit organization that sets the standards for what is a responsibly managed forest, both environmentally and socially.
- Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™)
- Founded in 1999, PEFC is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification.
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative ® (SFI®)
- Developed in 1994, SFI is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management.
One of Domtar’s Sustainable Forestry Principles is safeguarding endangered forests and wildlife. That’s why we aim to increase our supply of certified fiber by remaining committed to implementing and maintaining Chain-of-Custody certification to recognized, third-party standards. While Domtar has a preference for FSC where available, we will continue to utilize fiber from multiple certification schemes.
People are savvier today about where their products come from and are demanding that corporations and industries act more responsibly to protect the earth. Domtar hears that call and are working to keep forests growing and green. Today, Domtar is working with corporate partners, non-profit agencies and environmental groups to increase the number of forests managed using certified standards through various initiatives, from the Four States Timberland Owners Association to the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance.
This blog was previously published by author Dan Persica on Domtarblueline.com, now paper.domtar.com and updated by Paige Goff, VP of Sustainability at Domtar.