is some widespread concern among public opinion about the destruction
of the planet's forest heritage and more and more people are looking
for wood which comes from well managed and safeguarded forests.
In the wake of this public feeling, various trademarks have
been created for wood products, many of which are misleading.
study carried out by the WWF showed for example, that of
80 different environmental friendly claims found on the labels
of wood and paper products, three could only be partially verified
and demonstrated to be authentic. In order to clarify the dispute
over claims that , " no tree was cut to produce this notebook
" or " for every tree cut in order to produce this article
another two have been planted " and to create a credible
and independent international guideline, the Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC) since 1993 has been active in assuring consumers
world-wide that the wood used in the manufacture of a particular
product actually comes from forests that have been managed in
compliance with environmentally friendly awareness.
FSC Certification has already had a remarkable following
in some European countries (particularly in the North-West
of Europe) and in North America. In the United Kingdom,
Belgium, Germany and lately Italy, traditionally sensitive to
environmental issues, a group of buyers from the WWF was formed
who have been engaged to purchase and sell products coming from
certified forests based on the FSC system over the next 3 to 5
The FSC is not directly involved in issuing the "
certification ", but in defining its principles,
criteria and procedures to certify the environmental factor in
safeguarding forestry resources; through a program of voluntary
approval from the certification agencies, it assures that on a
local scale that these principles are respected and that the appraisals
are carried out by internationally recognized agencies .
approval is carried out in a series of phases, analogous
to the approved certifying agencies that operate in other
sectors and defined in the ISO centres: the agency issuing
certification must guarantee independence, accountability
and use the standards laid down by the FSC.
principles and criteria of the FSC are interpreted and adapted
on a local level by the certifying agency. An agency
credited by the FSC can issue two types of certificate,
firstly identifying who carries out the forest management
certification and secondly a certification on the
origin of the products (otherwise known as chain-of-custody).
the first case the forest management is evaluated from its
initial stage of forest planning, to the planting of tree seedlings
(interventions that favour the renewal of the forest, thinnings,
various types of treatments, natural phytosanitary defense against
disease, etc.) to the actual cutting down. In the second case,
the certification agency re-traces the origins the wood product
during the various phases of its production, starting from the
arrival of the log at the sawmill until it becomes a semi-finished
product (furniture, components, fixtures, etc.) or the finished
product itself (doors, furniture, flooring, etc.)
is a distinction between forest management certification
and chain-of-custody certification, even though both carry
the same FSC trademark.
A final product which carries the FSC trademark must
have originated from a forest managed in sustainable way
i.e must carry an FSC certification. An eco-friendly trademark
such as FSC's is a message that the consumer can easily
perceive and can promote the product on the market.
the case of a single forest, the forest organization can
use the FSC trademark to promote its activities and organisation.
In order to be able to use the trademark on a product
(on-product use) or on the packaging of the product
it is necessary that the organization have in its possession
the relative certificate to the chain-of-custody.
FSC certification and the use of its relative trademark is obviously
of great importance as it integrates the entire chain of production.
In Italy the cases of forest organizations are rare
and do not go beyond forest management. Many are not in a position
to re-trace the product from its arrival in the sawmill. As the
FSC system has all this potential, it is necessary that public
and private organisations and local industry collaborate together
in order to optimise the use of the certified lumber if they wish
to certify their own productive chain.
information can be obtained from web site of the Forest Stewardship
, from the ICILA,
created by producers, traders and specific agencies of reference
in the wood sector or from Club per il Legno Ecocertificato:
and from the SGS web site: http://www.sgs.com