FSC and the Sustainable Development Goals: Part 2

The second instalment of our UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) series outlines how FSC are contributing toward achieving Goals 5 – 8. If you missed part one of the series, click here to read it first.


Goal #5: Gender equality

Gender equality is a basic human right, and empowering women is imperative to achieving a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. However, gender inequality persists around the world. SDG 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

FSC are determined to ensure that men and women have equal rights and opportunities in FSC-certified companies. Our standards require:

  • equality in employment, training, awarding of contracts, processes of engagement, and management activities,
  • equal pay for equal work,
  • direct payment through a mutually agreed method to ensure they safely receive and retain their wages,
  • that job opportunities are open to both women and men under the same conditions, and women are encouraged to participate actively in all levels of employment,
  • maternity leave is no less than a six-week period after childbirth, and paternity leave is available with no penalty for taking it,
  • meetings, management committees and decision-making forums are organised to include both women and men, and to facilitate the active participation of both,
  • confidential and effective mechanisms exist for reporting and eliminating cases of sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender, marital status, parenthood, or sexual orientation.

textilesWomen from the Callería community of Indigenous Shipibo-Conibos in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest create beautiful textiles coloured with dye made from bark and plants from their FSC-certified forest. In Indigenous forest communities like this, women often don’t have the opportunity to earn money due to their household and childcare commitments. But this tradition is changing, and an initiative like this one empowers women.

Goal #6: Clean water and sanitation

Access to clean water is essential for survival. However, millions of people die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. SDG 6 is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Forests play a key role in the global water cycle by stabilising the climate, generating rain, and providing watersheds, and FSC-certified forests are contributing to efficient and sustainable water use, integrated water resource management, and protection of water-related ecosystems. FSC-certification requires the protection and restoration of natural watercourses, water bodies, riparian zones and their connectivity, and foresters must avoid negative impacts to water quality and quantity, and are required to mitigate and remedy those that occur.

Goal #7: Affordable and clean energy

Access to energy is essential, whether it be for jobs, security, climate change, or food production. An increase in energy efficiency and use of renewable energy is vital if we are to create a more sustainable and inclusive world. SDG 7 is working to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Wood is an affordable and important source of energy and around 2.6 billion people depend on it around the world. Although wood energy can provide an alternative to fossil fuels and potentially reduce the climate impacts of energy production, increasing demand is exacerbating deforestation.

FSC certification can be used to ensure that wood based biomass is responsibly sourced, making wood energy an effective alternative to fossil fuels whilst protecting the world’s forests.

Goal #8: Decent work and economic growth

Around half of the world’s population lives on as little as US$2 a day, and in many places having a job doesn’t guarantee an escape from poverty. Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. SDG 8 aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

The sale of forestry products contributes to sustainable economic development. FSC predicts that the use of wood will increase, and replace materials such as concrete, steel and oil. However, even sustainably managed forests cannot provide limitless resources. Therefore, we encourage waste minimisation during production, efficient use, and recycling. We even have a special label for products made of recycled materials, and accept reclaimed materials from certified or controlled sources.

FSC is also committed to supporting the SDG targets for fair employment. Our requirements include gender equality in the workplace, health and safety practices, fair wages, training, conflict resolution, workers’ engagement, and damage avoidance and compensation.

cheetahNamibia is home to a third of the world’s cheetah population, but invasive thorn bushes began to inhibit their ability to run and hunt. To tackle the problem, the FSC-certified Cheetah Conservation Fund (FSC®C004580) began to use the thorns to make fuel bricks called Bushblok. This cleared land for the cheetahs, but also created jobs in a region where unemployment is high. Bushblok now employs 30 people with the hope that the industry will grow and be able to provide more jobs.

FSC fully supports SDGs 9, 10, and 11, however, we do not directly deliver on the fulfilment of these goals. Learn more about them here.

Look out for our next blog in this series to find out about how FSC are addressing the remaining SDGs.

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