VANCOUVER, B.C. - With growing urgency behind calls for forest conservation, the membership of the Forest Stewardship Council met last week in its General Assembly.
The FSC General Assembly is being held in North America for the first time since its inaugural gathering in 1994. FSC is the only forest certification system led by an open, diverse membership, with the General Assembly its top decision-making body. Members include Greenpeace, Sierra Club, The Home Depot, The Nature Conservancy, The Walt Disney Company, and WWF. Founded in 1994, the Forest Stewardship Council uses markets to stop deforestation and forest degradation. Today it certifies nearly 500 million acres of forestland, with 32,000 companies in 120 countries marketing FSC-certified products.
"We are seeing companies step up to help protect forests, even as we all use forest products every day," said FSC's Corey Brinkema, "as climate change puts the need for forest conservation front and center." Brinkema is president of the Forest Stewardship Council U.S.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all transportation accounts for 14 percent of global carbon emissions, while experts estimate deforestation and forest degradation to contribute up to 15 percent. Healthy forests currently offer the best way to pull carbon out of the atmosphere. Recent research in the US Pacific Northwest finds FSC-certified forest management stores at least 45 percent more carbon than standard forestry.
In the past year, large firms like Apple, HP, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, McDonald's, Patagonia, Procter & Gamble, Target, Staples, Walmart and Williams-Sonoma have taken steps to grow demand for products from responsibly managed forests. Many of these businesses use FSC in their consumer marketing, creating a "virtuous cycle" driving forest conservation.
Brinkema says FSC US eyes an opportunity to further develop markets for solid wood products – including building materials and furniture, which are not growing as quickly as paper prodycts certifications.