Reducing our household consumption (like eating less beef for example) is the first step but what about regularly used items that cannot be avoided all together? What can you do?

Looking for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo and other reputable eco-friendly certifications is a step in the right direction. Below you’ll find a quick list of some participating brands and products. The question is, does this “gold standard” always go far enough?

A quick background of the certification program- After participants at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit failed to reach agreement on government intervention to control rampant tropical deforestation, Environmental organizations, social movements, and industry stepped in and together established a “voluntary system” for improving logging practices and certifying sustainable timber.

There are, however, case examples where the voluntary program has fallen short or been used deceptively. The Environmental Investigation Agency, a DC based nonprofit, says many companies get the certification for just one forest and then use it to cast a halo over their far more extensive dealings that are not compliant. Industry has also gained some considerable sway over FSC because of competition from rival forest-certifying organizations, notably the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). David Gehl of the Environmental Investigation Agency calls PEFC “basically certification by the industry, for the industry,” minus the social and environmental chambers. 

Recommendations for improving upon the certification program include focusing more on the tropics and regions of high biodiversity. Furthermore, deforestation, it is not always due to forestry operations but rather illegal land use changes. Some of the biggest culprits of this come from palm oil plantations, commercial agriculture, and ranching. costs associated with participation can be challenging for some entities. When certifying a fishery for example the process can take up to 5 years and costs range between $20,000 and $300,000 USD annually per fishery (Goyert et al. 2010; www.msc.org). Shopping fair trade in addition to FSC certified is incredibly important in helping improve social equity and mitigating environmental abuses.

FSC certification tracks the supply chain from forest to final/finished product. Forest Stewardship Council is an independent, non-profit organization. They are also one of the only forest certifications backed by groups such as WWF, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Natural Resource Defense council, and National Wildlife Federation

Some Certifications include

List of FSC Certified Personal Care products

-Aveeno- most products

-Burt’s Bees- facial cleansing towelettes only??

-Yes too- facial wipes

-Raw Sugar- bar soaps

-Simple- all products

-Seventh Generation- diapers, dishwashing detergent, toilet paper, 

-365 Everyday Value- toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue

Up & Up- paper towel and toilet paper

Products containing palm oil to steer clear of or pick wisely