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What It Means to be FSC-Certified

By Manna Zel

Chances are, you’ve seen the FSC certification logo before. Halfway between a check mark and a tree, the logo is placed on wood or wood-based products that come from forests that are managed in an environmentally, socially, and economically beneficial way. When you buy a product certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)—like the recyclable kraft cartons your favorite Youth To The People product comes packaged in—you can rest assured that your purchase will not harm the Earth’s forests.

Click here to read more about Neenah, Inc., the first premium paper mill to offer FSC-certified paper, and one of our partners in sustainability.

In 1993, a team of businesses, environmentalists, and community leaders congregated in Toronto, Canada for the first FSC General Assembly. They’d been connected the year prior, through the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where no agreement was reached to end deforestation. Just a year after their first General Assembly, the FSC established their headquarters in Oaxaca, Mexico, and now they work across more than 80 countries to protect the Earth’s forests for future generations. 

How do they do it? Enter the 10 FSC Principles, a list of rules the FSC uses to deem a forest responsibly managed. The list includes conserving biological diversity, advocating for Indigenous peoples’ rights, enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of local communities and people who work in the forests, ensuring forests’ economic viability, and regular monitoring and assessment of forests and forest management.

According to the FSC, the average American family uses almost six trees worth of paper every year, making it quite difficult for us to avoid using forest products entirely. What we can do, however, is make conscious economic decisions to support products that come from responsibly-managed forests—the places we choose to spend our money are reflections of what we believe—and by voting with our dollars and supporting organizations and brands that operate with the environment in mind.