The Forest Stewardship Council is an international scheme that has been applied to forest types around the world for a range of forest products. It was originally developed as an initiative to drive sustainable forest management in developing countries.
FSC came into existence in October 1993. Membership consisted of a diverse group of representatives from environmental, social, industry, indigenous and community groups. Environmental organisations such as Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund were involved throughout the development process, and continue to support FSC certification.
FSC governance structure is built upon principles of participation, democracy and equity. A three-chamber governance structure underpins all its activities and decision making. The three chambers are social, economic and environmental. They represent an all-inclusive approach to defining and growing responsible forest management now and into the future.
FSC for Australia
FSC Australia is embarking upon the development of the FSC Australian National Forestry Standard in line with the development of the International Generic Indicators, which support the FSC Principles & Criteria.
The following interim Standards are used in Australia for Forest Stewardship Certification:
This is an International Standard that allows forest management enterprises to provide evidence to a company or third-party certification body that the wood they supply has been controlled to avoid wood being harvested from unacceptable sources.
FSC Controlled Wood ensures that wood produced by the Forest Management Enterprise is sourced from harvesting operations that:
do not violate traditional or civil rights;
do not threaten High Conservation Values;
do not convert natural forest to plantations or non-forested areas; and
do not contain genetically modified trees.
In October 2018, VicForests announced plans to seek certification to FSC Controlled Wood standard by 2020 following an earlier unsuccessful audit of its Central Highlands and East Gippsland operations. While separately certified under the Responsible Wood standard (Australian Forestry Standard), VicForests is committed to adding FSC Controlled Wood to its Responsible Wood certification by 2020.