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All You Need to Know About FSC Certified Wood Flooring

The wooden flooring considers several factors. The most common factor that determines the kind of wood used. Hardwood is more expensive than most other wood alternatives. Another factor that makes a price difference is the origin of the tree. Following different manufacturing standards makes wooden flooring differ in price. When it comes to standards, one of the most sought-after is the FSC certification. This certification is important especially for environmentalists. The FSC certification is beneficial for both the buyers and the forests worldwide. This article will discuss more about FSC certification and its importance.

What is FSC Certification?

You may have seen wooden panels with a “FSC Certified” label. This proves that the wooden panels you purchased meet the requirements from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This non-profit and private organization has set standards for practicing responsible forestry. The FSC has taken the responsibility to make sure that forests are grown sustainably. It has guidelines that prohibit complete harvesting of forests. By avoiding clearcutting, owners will not destroy the ecological integrity of these forests. You have to remember that forests also have different organisms that need the trees to live. By not allowing clearcutting, there is also a greater chance to prevent floods.

Another guideline mandated by the FSC is the prohibition of harmful pesticide use. Pesticides may stay inside the structure of the wood harvested from the trees. Wooden floor panels made from these can have negative effects on the users in the long run. The certification requires responsible management of all the wood harvested. The harvesting of the wood must be beneficial to society. The processes followed must be conscious of environmental factors. Also, the project of harvesting wood must have benefits outweighing the costs. FSC certification, in short, means that the harvesting of the raw materials followed ethical means. The validity of a company’s FSC certificates is 5 years.


FSC Certification Process

FSC certification is a voluntary act. An independent organization will be the one to inspect the processes followed when owning a forest. These processes are followed by companies that harvest wood for business purposes. The application for FSC certification usually follows 5 steps:

  1. The first thing to do is to choose the preferred conformity assessment body. The Assurance Services International (ASI) has accredited each of these independent assessment bodies.
  2. Interested parties must then contact their chosen FSC assessment bodies. They will need to relay important information about their business operations to the accrediting body. Doing this will make it easier for the accrediting body to give the initial estimate of the time and cost.
  3. The companies must ensure that their management systems follow the FSC-approved management standards. These standards are the Forest Management (FM) and the Chain of Custody (CoC) standards. The companies may either get certification for FM only or they can get both FM and CoC. It is important that the companies are sure about how they plan to use their forests.

Forest Management Certification (FM)

This recognizes the careful efforts made by forest owners to follow long-term forest management. This certification does not give the owners of the forests the certification logo if they plan to sell their wood. This certification is only for the management processes of the forest. The management systems must meet the standards of the following principles and criteria of good forest management mandated by the FSC:

  •       Compliance with Laws
  •       Workers’ Rights and Employment Conditions
  •       Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
  •       Community Relations
  •       Benefits from the Forest
  •       Environmental Values and Impacts
  •       Management Planning
  •       Monitoring and Assessment
  •       High Conservation Values
  •       Implementation of Management Activities

Chain of Custody (CoC)

When it comes to getting FSC logos when selling materials coming from FSC certified forest, companies need to get a CoC certification. Owners will need to submit documentation that allows the accrediting team a way to trace the materials from their origins. This is why it is called a chain of custody. The FSC CoC certification verifies that FSC-certified materials have been identified. Also, it verifies that FSC-certified material has been separated from non-certified materials. FSC CoC makes it possible to track movement of all the FSC-certified materials. They can be tracked from the production of the materials up to the point when customers buy the products. The audit includes the different stages where there is a change in product ownership. The stages of these processes include sourcing, processing, trading, and distribution. There is transparency in the flow of materials throughout the supply chain. FSC CoC certification is a guarantee that all materials came from well-managed forests. This also ensures that the benefits of the certification can be passed on to the customers.

  1. The auditing process on the company’s operations will then begin. During this time, the accrediting body will check all current processes and systems. These should meet the standards for FSC FM and FSC CoC. The parties applying for certification will then have to wait for the decisions.
  2. The results may be released at least 6 weeks after the audit. For the successful companies, they will receive their FSC certificates and license codes. For those who lack the requirements to meet the standards, the accrediting body will give them time to apply corrective measures. Once done, these companies will then send evidence of their compliance.


FSC Trademark Usage

Once certified, the company will then have approval to use the FSC trademarks. Usage of the trademark materials has guidelines that are mandatory of FSC-certified businesses. The trademark label artwork is accessible only after the certification body gives access to the company. Knowing the recommended practices in using these trademarks is important. This will help you identify which products are authentic or following the guidelines. The following are some of the trademark usage rules:

  • FSC logos or trademarks should not appear on business cards. A text line that includes the license code is the way for an owner to promote on business cards.
  • In catalogues, the FSC trademark should be on the specific page where the FSC-certified materials are. It must be clear in identifying which item is FSC certified.
  • Only the logo should appear in mugs, pens, t-shirts, or any other promotional items. But if the company prefers, they may also include their respective license codes.
  • If a promotional item is made of wood, then it should not contain any FSC trademark. But if qualified as a FSC-certified item, then it is okay to add the FSC trademark on the promotional item.
  • Circle-shaped backgrounds are not good places to put the FSC logo.
  • Logos must be clear from other branding. This is to avoid the creation of any misleading information.

Benefits of Using FSC Certified Wood Flooring

Buying FSC-certified wooden flooring may cost more, but it has environmental benefits. Also, it may have a better health benefit as well. It does not mean though that all products that are not FSC-certified have negative effects on the environment. They may also follow similar guidelines without going through the certification process. But with FSC-certified flooring, you know that the products follow the strict guidelines. Below are some of the common benefits from using FSC-certified products:

  • FSC-certified wooden flooring ensures that the wood did not use harmful pesticides. Compared to other businesses, this has the least chance of getting affected by harmful pesticides.
  • There is an assurance that your products did not come from illegal logging. With hardwood being one of the most sought-after materials, some suppliers may take an illegal advantage. FSC processes are strict in ensuring that there is sustainability after harvesting wood. This would prevent companies from cutting all the fully-grown trees. Supply may be less as compared to those who may resort to clearcutting to get the largest profit.
  • Buying only FSC-certified wooden flooring will promote responsible forestry. Buying only the FSC-certified products would mean less demand for the irresponsible suppliers. Though not all are irresponsible, following a global standard is an assurance of such. This may help force other suppliers to get their own certifications.

FSC Certified Flooring is Your Way to Help the Ecosystem

With the high standards set, certified products are only meant to help maintain a healthy ecosystem. The planet needs more of these products aimed to preserve forest sustainability. You can do your part by buying and promoting FSC-certified products. If more people avoid uncertified products, this may help lessen illegal logging. This may also reduce the use of harmful chemicals in the forests. Doing so will help you by giving you a safer environment. Your family will be able to avoid the health hazards from these harmful chemicals. Be cautious when buying from suppliers that use the FSC trademark logos. Do research on the license codes, if written. The FSC trademark and logos are only available to those who pass certification. You should be wary of unauthorized use by other suppliers.

If you are looking for FSC-certified flooring, you can contact Three Trees Flooring. Rest assured that our products are authentic. By calling us at (416) 665-2624 we will be happy to answer any of yo

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