Look for Sustainable Paper and Wood

Learn how to find deforestation-free forest products by looking for the FSC certification.

Paper and wood products are a fact of life, from tissues and printer paper, to wooden furniture and building supplies. How can you avoid buying stuff that drives deforestation? There’s an easy way to tell if products are sustainably sourced: look for the FSC logo.

FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is a non-profit that offers voluntary certification for many different types of forest products. It’s kind of like an organic label, but for trees. In the U.S. alone, there are over 35 million acres of forests covered by FSC certification.

In order for a producer to get certified, they need to first take a survey of their land and identify which species of plants and animals are found there, and the quantity of those different species. Then, they determine how much and how often a certain type of tree or other forest product (like maple syrup) can be harvested, without damaging the ecosystem. Then, a third-party accreditor reviews the plan and visits the site. Finally, if the certification is approved, the accreditor checks in on the producers at least once per year to make sure everything is going according to plan.

This week, look for FSC certified products at your local stores, and consider if these products fit your budget and needs.