FSC and the Sustainable Development Goals: Part 3

The third instalment of our UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) series outlines how FSC are contributing toward achieving Goals 12 – 14. Read part 1 here, and part 2 here.


Goal #12: Responsible consumption and production

SDG 12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Its implementation will help to reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness, and reduce poverty. It requires there to be a focus on supply chains from producer to consumer, including educating on sustainable consumption, providing information through standards and labels, and engaging in sustainable public procurement.

FSC certification promotes responsible, sustainable production and consumption. Management practices must work to maintain the viability of forests while harvesting forest materials, and FSC certification allows businesses and consumers to source materials from well-managed forests.

Evidence of sustainable sourcing is becoming increasingly important for businesses and consumers. FSC provides evidence of this, therefore contributing to the SDG 12 target to ‘promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities’. FSC also addresses the SDG 12 target to ‘substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse’ by 2030, as our FSC Mix and FSC Recycled labels promote the reclamation and recycling of forest-based materials.

FSCMexico_HotelDeborah Angelo owns a popular hotel chain in Mexico and fills her hotels with products purchased from the local Mayan communities, including beds, desks, chairs and decorations, all made using wood from FSC-certified forests. Deborah and her team have also collaborated with five Mayan communities to open a boutique in one of her hotels. This allows the communities to sell their products to hotel guests. Deborah’s work demonstrates how businesses can play a crucial role in the supply chain and support community-owned sustainable businesses.

SDG #13: Climate action

Climate change is affecting every country in the world, and without urgent action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century. SDG 13 aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Forests help to regulate the climate by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in trees and forest soils. The world’s forests contain approximately as much carbon as is in the atmosphere, and the destruction of forest ecosystems contributes to one-sixth of global carbon emissions.

FSC certification contributes to mitigating climate change by promoting sustainable forest management and the recycling of forest-based materials. Paper and timber products contain carbon which is released when they rot or are burnt. By reusing and recycling products, we can ensure that this carbon is locked up for as long as possible.

FSC does not accept disturbance to forest soils, and certification requires foresters who manage infrastructural development, transport and silvicultural activities to ensure that water sources and soils are protected.

FSCMexicoTropical timber is often presented as a problem and can be used a symbol of deforestation. However, if managed correctly, timber can have very little impact on forest ecosystems and can sustain local economies.

International demand for timber is an incentive for the development of sustainable forestry in tropical forests. Without this demand, there is the risk of certification being abolished, and the area could become vulnerable to illegal logging or other kinds of land use at the expense of forests.

By supporting FSC certification, whether you are a business owner or a consumer, you are supporting responsible, sustainable tropical forestry.

SDG #14: Life below water

Oceans provide our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, food, and oxygen, therefore making the Earth habitable for humankind. They cover three quarters of the world’s surface and absorb around 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans. SDG 14 aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

Rivers and streams commonly run through forests on their way to the ocean, and mangrove forests provide important nurseries for marine life and are crucial to both coastal and offshore fisheries. Deforestation and degradation of forests causes erosion which sends sediments downstream and saturates waterways. Fertilisers and pesticides used for land management can also pollute marine habitats. The FSC Pesticides Policy regulates the use of chemical pesticides in the FSC system, with the long-term aim of eliminating the use of chemical pesticides in FSC-certified forests.

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

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231