What is FSC certified packaging and how can it benefit the environment?

September is a positive time to focus on sustainability! Both Recycle Week and FSC Forest Week campaigns occur during the month.  This year, FSC Forest Week takes place between 24th to 30th September. This awareness campaign, formally called FSC Friday, is championed by the Forest Stewardship Council.  

So, what is the FSC, what is FSC Forest Week all about and what is FSC certified packaging? In this blog we’ll explore everything FSC and explain what FSC certified packaging is…  

What is the FSC? 

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international organisation dedicated to promoting the responsible management of the world’s forests. The FSC is not affiliated to any government.  

Founded in 1994, the FSC is now the most globally recognised and respected forest certification system. The certification allows businesses and consumers to choose paper, wood and other forest-based materials that have been produced from responsibly managed forests.  

Everything you need to know about FSC certified packaging products  

  • What is the FSC? 
  • What is FSC Forest Week? 
  • What is an FSC® certification?  
  • Understanding FSC certified packaging  
  • How FSC certified packaging benefits the environment  
  • How to tell if the packaging you’re using is FSC certified  
  • FSC certified packaging for your business  

What is FSC Forest Week?

FSC Forest Week is a yearly campaign that’s aimed at raising the awareness of sustainable forestry and responsible consumption.

The FSC and FSC license holders come together to showcase sustainability forestry efforts. The ultimate goal? To encourage consumers and businesses to be mindful of choosing sustainably sourced products when shopping or procuring products for their business.   

What is an FSC® certification?

The FSC offer several certifications:  

  • A forest management certification  
  • A chain of custody certification  
  • A promotional license certification  

The forest management certification is aimed at forest managers and owners and enables them to ensure their care and forest stewardship is recognised and tested against international standards.  

A chain of custody certification from the FSC supports businesses dealing with forest-based products to meet legislative requirements, improve market access and evidence sustainability policies and practices. Companies with this the FSC chain of custody certification can apply FSC labels to their products and make FSC claims on sales documents, maintaining the chain of custody!  

Promotional licenses are used by retailers that buy finished FSC products and sell them unchanged, as well as businesses who wish to promote their use of FSC products. They’re also used by consultants, training companies and investment organisations in the environmental sector, as well as parent or holding companies that may own several FSC-certified businesses.  

Understanding FSC Certified Packaging

So, what is FSC certified packaging? In essence, it is packaging that has been produced from paper manufactured from wood pulp that has come from trees in an FSC managed forest. This could include anything from a standard cardboard box through to paper sheets, packing paper, paper packing tape and paper cushioning. 

To guarantee FSC standards, all wood and packaging materials produced from it must be traceable, no matter how complex the supply chain is. For context, here are key things to note:  

  • Trees in FSC certified forests are only cut down at the rate they can be reproduced to maintain a CO2-neutral forest.  
  • Work undertaken in FSC® forests should benefit local populations, including using local labour.  
  • Individuals that work in FSC certified forests are provided with training, safety equipment and fair salaries.  
  • Indigenous populations are involved in forest management, to protect sacred grounds and hunting grounds.  
  • FSC implements initiatives to develop local infrastructures, depending on the socioeconomic conditions where materials originate from. 

How FSC certified packaging benefits the environment

Using FSC certified packaging is good for the environment because it helps you maintain a sustainable supply chain and ensures your packaging materials are made from responsible sources.  

  • Forests are responsibly managed and raw materials protected for future generations  
  • CO2 emissions are controlled through effective forestry management  
  • Wildlife is protected and parts of FSC forests are preserved completely to preserve endangered plants and animals  

How to tell if the packaging you’re using is FSC certified

When packaging is FSC certified, it will be marked with an FSC. There are several different FSC labels.  

They are available in a portrait or landscape format and will feature:  

  • The FSC logo and website address  
  • A label title  
  • A product type and label text  
  • An FSC license code  
  • A Mobius loop if the packaging is made fully or partially from recycled content  

FSC labels may appear on packaging materials in three different colourways – green, black, and white.   

macfarlane packaging electric truck

FSC certified packaging for your business

If you use packaging materials and are interested in sourcing FSC certified packaging products, Macfarlane Packaging can help.  

Here at Macfarlane Packaging, we hold a chain of custody certification, FSC® C149407.  This means we can provide FSC certified packaging products and maintain the chain of custody through our sourcing practices.   

With our extensive range of eco-friendly packaging products and tools like our Packaging Optimiser, we can help you achieve your sustainability goals, remove emissions from your supply chain and reduce your packaging costs 

For more information, please get in touch with our friendly team today!