FSC recently unveiled the Vancouver Declaration, an initiative which asks businesses to make a public promise across the globe to work towards more sustainable sourcing of forest products and endorse FSC as the supplier of choice for certification of forest products. The first line of the declaration reads: “Business has a crucial role in achieving a sustainable future and responsible use of natural resources as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals the UN adopted in 2015.”
In fact, as a global NGO that has been promoting and providing solutions for sustainable forest management, FSC has been playing an important role in achieving 11 out of these 17 goals.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development two years ago in 2015. The Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. At the core of the agenda are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), covering the economic, social, and environmental spheres.
How has FSC been contributing for the Environmental SDGs?
Goal 15 Life on Land focuses on the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems – by 2020. FSC contributes by promoting the implementation of sustainable management of all forests, halting deforestation, restoring degraded forests and ecosystems, aiding conservation, maintaining biodiversity, and increasing afforestation of degraded lands and soils.
With its ecosystem approach, FSC contributes to efficient and sustainable water use, integrated water resource management and the protection of water-related ecosystems. It focuses on protecting and restoring natural watercourses, water bodies, riparian zones and their connectivity. Foresters are obliged to avoid adverse impacts on water quality and quantity, and ease and remedy those that occur. It also helps maintain water quality in forests through training for forest workers.
FSC certification can be used to help ensure that wood energy is effective as an alternative to fossil fuels, and avoids adverse impacts. It is a step towards the sustainable production of bio-energy that will help to minimise greenhouse gas emissions, which contributes to the target of increasing the share of renewable energy by 2030. Currently, FSC is developing tools that will prove to businesses that the natural benefits of forest ecosystem services capturing and storing carbon are being preserved and will reward FSC certificate holders accordingly.
FSC promotes sustainable consumption and production. It allows manufacturers to source from sustainably managed forests, while providing a choice regarding sustainably produced materials for consumers. FSC contributes the targets on sustainable management and efficient natural resource use, reporting on sustainable practices, information and awareness and sustainable public procurement, capacity-building in developing countries for sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
FSC’s certification scheme for forest management, its chain of custody control standards, and its outreach to consumers through labels, all contribute to tackling climate change by promoting sustainable forest management and the recycling of used wood materials. Moreover, FSC has begun to develop new tools that reward the preservation of valuable ecosystem services, including carbon storage. Through responsible forestry, FSC contributes to the goal of promoting resilience of the earth against climate change.
FSC’s Efforts in Socioeconomic SDGs
FSC rules require the payment of reasonable, living wages, training, the protection of forest workers, and agreements with local populations that guarantee they share in the benefits of forest management. In some cases, smallholders and community foresters can gain additional income and security by applying for FSC certification.
FSC can contribute to sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. With the support from FSC and its certification scheme, forests can be better managed, which help provide better and more nutritionally balanced diets, greater control over food inputs and deliver ecosystem services for crop production.
FSC defines gender equality as women and men having equal conditions for realising their human rights and for contributing to, and benefiting from, economic, social, cultural and political development. FSC requires adherence with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) core convention which entails equal wage and job opportunities, maternity and paternity leave, anti-discrimination and more.
The FSC system model uses wood as an environmentally and socially sound resource actively contributes to sustainable economic development. To achieve resource efficiency, FSC schemes support waste minimisation and product maximisation. Furthermore, FSC aids the SDG targets on employment, decent work and equal pay; the eradication of forced labour and child labour; and the protection of labour rights and ensuring safe and secure working environments by applying ILO’s core conventions.
FSC is strict on the requirements regarding legal rights to harvest, customary rights, environmental and social requirements. FSC respects and focuses on consent for local people and Indigenous Peoples. It contributes to the rule of law and the reduction of corruption and bribery by taking measures to eliminate corruption. To strengthen the functioning of relevant institutions, FSC requires conflict resolution mechanisms for certified forest management operations and certification bodies.
FSC supports legal and commercially viable forest management practices, which help increase national incomes through fees and taxes. FSC aids the implementation of legislation aiming to close down markets for illegally harvested timber. FSC also helps improve the image of tropical timber in Northern markets, addressing concerns about the negative environmental and social impacts of producing such wood. Lastly, FSC works on the promotion of civil society partnerships through group certification.
Visit this link find out more about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.