Profile: Forest Stewardship Council
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
founded in 1993
Everybody who supports the ideals and aims of FSC can become a member, either as an individual or as an organisation. While individual members just represent single interests to actively support FSC, under organisational members are coming environmental organisations, labour unions, representatives of indigenous people and companies from the forestry and timber industry. FSC is supported by 833 enterprises, organisations and individuals worldwide (as of August 2009).
FSC was established in the wake of the Rio Summit in 1993. Its purpose is to improve forest management worldwide. FSC aims to promote sustainable forest management with an international certification scheme for timber and timber products. It provides a platform for different interest groups to come together and reach consensus on responsible forest management. The FSC’s key distinguishing feature is the balancing of environmental, social and economic interests as they relate to the world’s forests.
All of FSC’s decision-making bodies have three chambers: an environmental chamber, a social chamber and an economic chamber. Decision-making always involves finding a consensus between these chambers. Members must choose a chamber on joining and must explain their chamber preference in the membership application form. The three chambers each have the same voting power so that none can outvote the others in decisions. To balance interests at global level, each chamber is also divided into ‘north’ and ‘south’ subchambers representing the northern and southern hemispheres. In addition to the chairperson, each chamber provides a board member and a deputy.
FSC encourages national sections throughout the world to establish working groups. These develop national FSC standards and carry out public information work on FSC activities.
FSC-accredited certifiers inspect forest management and timber operations for compliance with FSC standards. Certifiers throughout the world use uniform rules and procedures. Compliance with these is verified by audits at least once a year. Forest managers and owners and timber processors, traders and retailers who operate in accordance with and promote sustainable development principles can register with FSC. They can then use FSC certification to communicate their environment-friendly credentials to consumers. All operators are regularly inspected for compliance with FSC standards.
FSC is funded by foundations, government contributions, membership fees and accreditation fees.
Forest Stewardship Council
FSC International Center Bonn
BfN funded a number of projects of the working group FSC Germany in recent years as part of its funding programme for conservation organisations. The FCS Certificate, at the national scale, includes criteria such as the allocation of five percent of all forest land as non-disturbed reference areas. This supports an important objective of the National Biodiversity Strategy.