The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international agency that tracks and certifies sustainably-harvested wood and wood products. The amount of FSC-certified wood available in the market is growing every year. When conducting a renovation or new construction project, consult with your team’s architects, contractors, and suppliers and try to use FSC-certified products.
To find suppliers of FSC-certified wood products, submit a product inquiry through the FSC website, or visit the Forest Stewardship Council Retailers List. Be sure to search for FSC products, and not those certified through the industry vehicle SFI.
If you are unable to find FSC-certified wood, at minimum, ensure that any wood products are guaranteed to be legally harvested. Consult the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species to confirm that you’re not buying an illegally traded species and inadvertently contributing to the destruction of a dwindling resource.
Environmentally preferable alternatives to virgin wood products include repurposed wood or recycled content plastic lumber. For additional environmental considerations when purchasing wood-based products, visit The NRDC Consumer’s Guide to Buying Wood.
FSC certification can also be used to prioritize paper purchases. For paper products, first maximize recycled content, then seek FSC certification for any virgin fiber. See the Purchasing page in the Paper section of this guide to learn more.
*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*
Evaluating the wood products purchasing at your sports offices can help your institution earn points within the “Purchasing” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Applying the FSC criteria to paper purchases can directly contribute to earning 1 point for the credit “OP 14: Office Paper Purchasing.” Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.
Wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council has been harvested in a more sustainable manner with fewer habitat and cultural impacts. Forests create oxygen, protect biodiversity, filter pollutants from the air, and help mitigate global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas. They also play an essential role in water purification and can help mitigate floods and erosion.
By purchasing FSC-certified wood, your organization is supporting more responsible forestry practices that help protect forest ecosystems. FSC is the only certification system acknowledged by the world’s leading environmental organizations, including NRDC, to provide adequate protection for the world’s forests.
AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)
AASHE STARS 2.0 Technical Manual
NRDC: Forests website
NRDC: Good Wood website
Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)
Forest Stewardship Council – Designing and Building with FSC