FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Program of the Endorsement of Forest Certification) are the two main wood certifiers. They address forest management, the traceability of wood processing, and the social dimension of workers. According to WWF, “FSC certification is the only one that is sufficiently demanding in the face of the challenges of the forest products markets”. Bad news, FSC is not the most popular certification! Three quarters of certified forests in the world have PEFC certification. In 2017, only 0.2% of French forest was FSC certified (compared to 100% of state forest, 60% of municipal forest, and nearly 20% of private PEFC forest).
Certification would not be a sufficient criterion for sourcing in an ecological way if it were not accompanied by two other green practices: buying local, which reduces the impact of transport, and using wood in a sustainable or circular way, which reduces impact.
Furthermore, if there is no certification regarding exotic woods then beware, because illegal trafficking prevails. 10%-30% of the global timber trade is illegal and in parts of Africa or Asia, between 50% and 90% of timber comes from illegal channels, according to Traffic. 30% to 40% of exotic wood imported into France may come from illegal logging. In addition to verifying the country of origin, it is also necessary to check whether the species of tree is not endangered, using the CITES list (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) and the famous IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature), or in Brazil, the Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources). Here then, the cedar of Lebanon is vulnerable and the rosewood is in danger…
Philippe Osset and Alice Audouin
The official Brazilian list of endangered species (Portuguese)