Why Does The World Wildlife Fund's FSC Logo Matter?

Written by Chrissie Stephen


There seems to be so many recycled products on the market today, so what sets the World Wildlife Fund’s Forest Stewardship Council apart? There is something very special about opening a greeting card and the crisp feel of the envelope and smoothness of the card inside. Despite living in the digital age with emails, text messages and FaceTime, many people still prefer to send a beautiful greeting card by mail, to be enjoyed and treasured by its recipient...

But at what cost to the planet?

Christmas is the most popular time of year to send cards in Canada and St. Valentine's Day is a close second, with 40 million cards being exchanged. Nine out of ten average households buy 25-30 greeting cards a year. On a national scale, this adds up to a huge amount of paper. 40% of household rubbish is paper and on average, each person in Canada and the United States discards 70 lbs of paper annually. If you love to send greeting cards but are a keen conservationist, is there a way to combine both interests? 

Introducing the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)                        


With the strapline 'Forests For All Forever', the FSC is an international non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting responsible forestry around the world and helps to take care of the forests and the people and wildlife that call them home. The FSC runs a global forest certification system that ensures forests meet the highest environmental and social standards which it defines in its ten principles of forest stewardship. Each forest is regularly assessed by a reputable independent organization that is FSC certified. Linked with this certification system, the FSC also oversees forest management and has its 'chain of custody' certification.

Good forest management is essential and forest owners work closely with the FSC to reach the highest standards. When a consumer chooses a wood, paper or other product bearing the distinctive FSC logo, they know that they have come from well-managed forests and/or recycled materials.

Northern Cards
© Jean-Paul Michael

FSC helps protect and maintain natural communities and high conservation value forests. Its work is socially beneficial too, as FSC respects the rights of forest workers, communities and indigenous people - both on private and public land. 

Protecting the world's valuable forests 

The rich wildlife found in forests often suffers when deforestation removes and destroys the habitats of rare and endangered species. The FSC is very conscious of this fact and recent studies were undertaken in Guatemala and Peru to assess the effect of well-managed forests on wildlife and to accurately measure the consequence of logging operations and if the low-impact timber operation practised by FSC-certified concessions is making a difference. The study focused on the jaguar, the largest cat in the Americas, which is classified as a 'near threatened species'.


                       © FSC

The study also looked at more than 20 other medium and large species of mammals in both countries and the results confirmed that wildlife can continue to thrive in well-managed forest areas.

Monitoring every stage of manufacture

The chain of custody certification process organized by the FSC oversees and checks every stage of manufacture, from the forest tree to the finished product. Consumers buying FSC-labelled products know that their production has been monitored at every stage and has gained the genuine FSC certification. Our printer and paper merchants work closely with the FSC and our range of greeting cards conforms to FSC certification.

The diverse FSC product range

With so much paper being used and then discarded in the world, recycled paper is being increasingly used for everyday items and is preferred by a growing number of ecologically minded consumers. Paper fibre can be successfully recycled five to seven times before the fibres become too short for use. Northern Cards' current range of 63 greeting cards are printed on recycled and recyclable paper and future cards will be, too.

FSC-endorsed products can be found in millions of household items including kitchen paper, milk cartons and other food products, books and even sneakers. Recently, the first FSC-certified maple syrup producer was added to the evergrowing list. FSC products also include furniture and construction materials and athletes using FSC snowboards recently won Olympic gold medals.

FSC snowboard
                       © FSC

There are 100 countries globally now marketing FSC products.

In 2018, the Forest Stewardship Council celebrates 20 years of forest certification with 200,808,563 hectares of certified forest worldwide and 34,636 'chain of custody' certificate holders. 

The invaluable work of the Forest Stewardship Council is recognised by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust. WWF describes the work of the FSC as 'the hallmark of responsible forest management'. 

Look for the FSC 'tick tree' logo

This distinctive logo indicates products that have been certified under the FSC system.

FSC Logo

There are three different FSC 'tick tree' symbols found on greeting cards and other products:

  • FSC 100% identifies products that are made from 100% virgin materials from an FSC certified forest.

  • FSC Mix labels identify products which are made with a combination of FSC virgin fibre, and/or recycled materials with controlled virgin fibre. 

  • FSC Recycled confirms that the product has been made from 100% reclaimed material.

When you see the FSC 'tick tree' logo on the back of a Northern Cards greeting card, you can buy with confidence, knowing that you are not buying something that will harm the world's beautiful forests, but you are helping to conserve them for future generations to enjoy.

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