Certification: A Stamp of Approval for Forest Products

    VANCOUVER, July 28 /CNW/ - Ever wondered how you can make sure the paper,
wood or other forest products you buy meet your high standards for
environmental stewardship?
    After all, while Canada has tough forest laws and enforces them, this
isn't true for all countries. And with today's global markets you can never be
sure about the source of the fibre in products you are buying - whether it is
furniture, copy paper or flooring,
    The best way to check the pedigree of a forest product is to ask if it is
certified to a credible independent certification standard such as the three
used in Canada - the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
    "Forest certification began more than 10 years ago in response to
concerns about destructive logging practices and forest conversion, primarily
in tropical regions," says Diane Roddy, an independent forestry consultant who
specializes in certification issues.
    "Today, it offers assurance to environmentally savvy consumers that the
fibre in a product comes from forests managed to meet strict environmental and
social standards. It is a stamp of approval, sort of like an organic sticker
or recycling symbol."
    The concept is simple. A qualified, accredited certification body with a
wide range of expertise audits a forest operation's planning, procedures,
systems and on-the-ground performance against a specific standard. If the
operation is in compliance, a certificate is issued. Forest certification is
often complemented with chain-of-custody certification, which is a mechanism
used to track wood from a certified forest.
    "The CSA, FSC and SFI standards all cover the basics by making sure laws
are obeyed, harvested areas are reforested, and there is no illegal logging,"
says Roddy. "They also check that biological diversity is conserved; habitat,
soils and water resources are maintained, and harvesting is sustainable, and a
lot more."
    Individuals who buy certified products have a direct impact on forest
management at home and abroad, Roddy says. "They are rewarding companies that
promote sustainable forest management, and they are sending a strong signal to
the managers of the 90 per cent of the world's forests that are not
    To identify suppliers in British Columbia who offer certified products or
to learn more about certified forests in the province, visit

For further information:

For further information: Mary Tracey, executive director for Wood WORKS!
BC, mtracey@wood-works.ca, 1-877-929-9663 ex. 1

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