FSC Friday 2018: Why Do We Need Forest Certification and How It Helps Conserve Forests?
Every year for the last 10 years on the last Friday of September, the world celebrates the day of responsible attitude to forest, the FSC Friday. On this day, people who are keen on the environment, as well as companies that support the idea of sustainable attitude to the forest, hold open lectures for adults, conduct eco-classes for children, "green" parties for friends, write articles or blogs on theme of responsible attitude to forest, etc. The main goal is to prove concern for the forests on this day.
Forest conservation is one of the main goals of WWF-Russia that why we support not only FSC Friday campaign, but FSC certification itself as it helps prevent degradation of forests and depletion of forest resources on our planet. FSC promotes environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management in the world. For this reason, the whole system is based on the balance of three different groups of interests, i.e. environmental, economic and social.
In our country, WWF-Russia in cooperation with FSC Russia is promoting certified forest products among consumers, which contributes to the formation of environmentally sensitive market of forest products. As a result, more and more people in Russia learn about the availability of forest certification and have the opportunity to make sure whether forest products they buy are legal. The FSC label on wood or on wooden products is an indication that they come from a forest where environmentally and socially responsible forestry is conducted. The FSC certificate is in demand in the most important environmentally sensitive international markets, e.g. European, North American, East Asian, etc., so the demand for the FSC certification in Russia is high and continues to grow.
“Only a responsible, healthy, and economically prosperous forest business can simultaneously ensure high economic performance, and the conservation of environmental values of forests, and respect for the social interests of employees of their enterprises and the local communities. FSC certified companies have the opportunity to invest in the development of sustainable intensive forest management in secondary forests and thus contribute to the conservation of high conservation value forests (HCVF), including the most environmentally valuable, pristine forests, i.e. intact forest areas and landscapes (IFA and IFL)”, says Nikolay Shmatkov, WWF-Russia Forest Program Director.
For more than 10 years, Russia has been one of the world leaders in the FSC scheme, ranking second in the world after Canada in terms of FSC-certified forests. As of 29 August 2018, there were 238 combined certificates of forest management and chain of custody for the area of 47,65 million hectares available (more than a quarter of the total forest area leased for logging), and 724 companies were CoC certificate holders. The total volume of the annual production of certified products exceeds 50 million m3.
The compliance with the FSC requirements also ensures the conservation of biodiversity during logging, and that FSC is the most effective mechanism for the identification and conservation of HCVF, including IFA and IFL. In total, the FSC-certified companies in Russia have allotted more than 13.8 million hectares of HCVF, 7.5 million hectares being completely withdrawn from forest management.
Due to the certification, it became possible to begin a dialogue with certified companies, environmental organizations, public and governmental authorities to identify and conserve the most valuable parts of intact forest – IFL cores. WWF-Russia cooperates with certified companies in terms of HCVF identification and conservation; almost 2.5 million hectares of HCVF are conserved within the framework of agreements between the companies and WWF-Russia.
“It’s essential for us that FSC certification system addresses social aspects, as WWF conserves forests taking into account their social role and interests of the local communities”, adds Nikolay Shmatkov.
WWF-Russia recognizes that the FSC system needs improvement, better compliance of companies' practices with the FSC principles and criteria. Thus, WWF-Russia is actively involved in improving the quality of FSC in Russia, and calls on all the stakeholders to take part in improving the quality of the FSC certification in Russia, including active participation in consultations held by the certified companies with local communities and public organizations to identify particularly valuable forest areas to conserve them at logging.
fsc key facts and figures
- FSC is an international non-profit organization based on the membership system. Members may be legal entities and individuals representing economic, environmental, and social interests.
- There is no leading country or region for the FSC, the system is represented in all regions of the world and currently covers more than 120 countries. Each country has its own national FSC standard, 10 principles and the corresponding criteria being common.
- As of August 2018, FSC certified more than 200 million hectares of forests worldwide in 86 countries and issued more than 35,000 CoC certificates in 124 countries.
- Any decision in the FSC is taken only if supported by a majority in each of the three chambers. Russian national standard is developed with the mandatory participation of representatives of all stakeholder groups and approved only if approved by all three chambers.
- The FSC certification is the most transparent of all forest certification schemes as all certification reports are publicly available in the online database.
Why the FSC label matters for forests, people, and wildlife
Video created by WWF-US and translated into Russian by WWF-Russia.
Headline photo: © FSC Russia