Frequently Asked Questions

A Quick Guide to FSC


What is FSC?

Love the Forest?  Look for the Logo! (© Smurfit Kappa Pererborough)© Smurfit Kappa PererboroughFSC stands for 'Forest Stewardship Council'.  We are an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forestry. FSC certifies forests all over the world to ensure they meet the highest environmental and social standards.

Products made with wood and paper from FSC forests are marked with our ‘tick tree’ logo. When you see this logo, you can be confident that buying it won’t mean harming the world’s forests.


How does the FSC system work?

Forests are inspected and certified against strict standards based on FSC’s 10 Principles of Forest Stewardship. These inspections are undertaken by independent organisations, such as the Soil Association, that are accredited by the FSC. In order to be given FSC certification a forest must be managed in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable manner. This is what makes the FSC system unique and ensures that a forest is well-managed from the protection of indigenous people’s rights to the methods of felling trees. Forests that meet these strict standards are given FSC certification and the timber allowed to carry the FSC label.


How can I be sure that the product really does come from an FSC well-managed forest?

In addition to forest certification, the FSC system includes a certified chain of custody that tracks the timber through every stage in the supply chain from the forest to the final user. This is monitored through the invoicing process and the final label on the product has a code that confirms that the item is genuinely FSC.


What does the FSC label mean?

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a wood or wood based product is your assurance that it is made with, or contains, wood that comes from FSC certified forests or from post-consumer waste.

There are three types of FSC label: 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled.  Please click here to find out what each of these mean.


Which products carry the label?

The FSC label is currently found on over 10,000 product lines in the UK alone. You’ll find it on garden furniture, decking, sheds, conservatories, tools, bird boxes and bird tables, kitchen, bathroom and general housewares, brushes, wall paper, flooring, doors, shelves, furniture, toilet tissue, paper, pencils - in fact most things made from wood. It can also be found on less obvious items such as charcoal, and there are now also coffins available. The FSC logo can also be found on non-timber forest products such as footballs and trainers containing latex as well as products such as venison and maple syrup.


Where can I buy FSC labelled products?

Almost all the major DIY stores such as B&Q and Homebase stock FSC items. You’ll also find them in high street stores such as Sainsbury’s, Boots, Next, Body Shop, Marks and Spencer and Co-op.


How does FSC differ from other forest certification schemes?

There are a number of other forest certification schemes around but they do not have the same strict environmental, social and economic standards or such a rigorous chain of custody; tracking timber from the forest to the final user. FSC is therefore the only forest certification scheme endorsed by the major environment charities including WWF, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust.  You can see a more detailed analysis of how FSC compares with other forest certification schemes here.


Do FSC certified products cost more?

Like all products it depends on the availability but on the whole familiar items will be roughly the same price as non-FSC items.


What should I do if I can’t find products with the FSC label?

Although more and more products are becoming available all the time there are still gaps in the market. If you cannot find a product you should ask for it; the greater the demand the bigger the supply. FSC can also help with tracing items, take a look at our product search on the web site, or contact FSC UK.


© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231