FSC- What is it?

Report by WWF Germany

FSC - what is it?

Fsc® stands for Forest Stewardship Council®". It is an international certification system for more sustainable forest management. The wood of furniture, toys, books, schoolbooks or pencils with FSC seal comes from forests that are managed more responsibly. There are ten principles that are valid worldwide and must be adhered to by all FSC standards of the different countries. FsCs are certified forests and plantations, which are managed according to stricter ecological and social principles, among other things. This should help to preserve forests in the long term. The idea of an FSC-certified forest is completely untouched nature is just as unconventional as the idea from the forest is only a small amount of wood taken.

Fsc. © Rizal Bukhari / WWF Indonesia

The most important goal of the FSC is to ensure that the forests of our planet are used at the same time as being more environmentally friendly, socially acceptable and economically viable. The FSC - founded in 1993 following the Rio Summit on the Environment - is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. It brings together entrepreneurs from the wood and forestry sector, environmental associations, trade unions, representatives of civil society and indigenous peoples. All interest groups involved in the forest are recognised on an equal footing here. This concept is reflected in the chamber structure of the organization: none of the three chambers can be overruled.


The FSC strives for transparency. Certified establishments are usually to be inspected annually on site by independent experts and the results should be made public.

Since 1997, the FSC has been a non-profit association in Germany. As a national initiative, the FSC Working Group Germany e.V. supports the FSC International Center, based in Bonn, and is responsible for the German FSC standard, which is based on the same ten principles that apply internationally. 

The WWF supports the work of the FSC and advises to pay attention to the FSC seal when purchasing paper and wood products. It is true that critics accuse the FSC seal of not being perfect. Unfortunately, it is not. But the FSC seal is the most demanding we can find internationally at the moment. FSC is on the right track, because it creates transparency by being able to respond to grievances with various mechanisms - right up to the withdrawal of the FSC certificate. 

The WWF is working with concrete demands to make the FSC better and further developed. A more responsible forest management can save forests from their complete destruction. It creates sufficient income in the long term, secures jobs and tax revenues and thus prevents, for example, the conversion of forests into palm oil plantations, soya fields or other lucrative land.

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