Director of Programs & Communications, FSC Canada
shopfsc.ca helps consumers stand for forests.
Nearly 400 million hectares of forest stretch across Canada, which is home to 10 percent of the world’s woodland. Still, our national canopy is threatened and consistently at risk: since the turn of the century, this country’s tree cover has plummeted 11 percent — or by 44 million hectares, according to Global Forest Watch.
The news cycle demonstrates in real-time our close relationship with forests. There is annual, serious wildfire activity in BC searing the landscape of many communities, and the summer of 2021 was no exception. In northwestern Ontario, smoke from forest fires hung as far south as Toronto, dropping air quality and visibility all along the way.
Walls of flame get the attention, but in truth stakeholders that range from activists to corporations have been sounding the alarm bell on deforestation in the name of urban growth, industry, and agriculture for decades. When we hear about this, it’s usually in the spectre of something newsworthy, like RCMP officers recently shutting down old-growth protests in the forests of Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island — a scene set to become the biggest act of civil disobedience in Canada’s history.
At stake is the loss of diverse wildlife, Indigenous communities, and carbon storage that helps avert the climate crisis. Protecting our forests is a role that isn’t exclusive to activist organizations, government agencies, or eco-conscious corporations. It’s a role any consumer can accept, with their wallet and with their choices. In an economy-driven society, that role is second to none.
FSC stands for forests
In Canada and around the world, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) protects animal habitats, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, workers’ rights, and areas of environmental or cultural importance.
To that end, it has set a strict national standard for responsible forest management that any forestry company must meet in order to be FSC-certified. In this process, companies must demonstrate they’re preserving caribou habitat, working collaboratively with local Indigenous Peoples, acting in a socially responsible manner, and prioritizing high conservation values — biological, ecological, social, or cultural values of outstanding significance — among other requirements.
In this meticulous process, FSC tracks fibre from certified forests along the entire supply chain all the way to the store — where consumers are then empowered to be part of the sustainability solution by selecting wood, paper, and other forest products bearing the FSC label.
These labels provide consumers with an assurance that the products are made from responsible sources and have been verified to meet FSC’s strict environmental and social standards.
In fact, FSC Canada’s national forest management standard is this country’s sole forest certification system to be supported by top environmental organizations including the World Wildlife Fund Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association.
The FSC label can be found on millions of products that range from toilet paper, books, and furniture to shoes and musical instruments. The consumer experience is often a rushed one, so to make sustainable purchasing even easier, Canadians can now find FSC certified products online at shopfsc.ca. It’s home to a growing list of companies proudly showcasing their FSC-certified products, including Pottery Barn, Lululemon, Hunter Boots, Allbirds, and more.