Forest certification is widely seen as the most important initiative of the last decade to promote better forest management. Responsible forest management is a key component of WWF’s vision for a future in which people live in harmony with nature. Forest products are renewable, which is an advantage compared to many other natural resources. So the sustainable use of renewable forest products can help provide forest dependent people with shelter, fuel, medicine and other services, while providing essential habits for plants and animals and well as a safeguard against climate change.
WWF understands the threats facing forests today, but trying to prohibit the use of forest resources isn’t a viable solution. Responsible forest management is an important solution and a credible system of certification can ensure the sustainable management of these vital resources. However, certification is not a universal remedy against the world’s forest crises - it cannot replace scientifically sound regulations and legislation.
What certification system can you trust?
Today there are a plethora of forest certification schemes. Certification will only ensure responsible forest management if the system has comprehensive management standards, rigorous control mechanisms and broad involvement of economic, environmental and social stakeholders. Otherwise it’s just a green label. WWF considers the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to be the best certification system to ensure environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of forests. WWF therefore recommends the FSC system to consumers, forest managers, policymakers and businesses. See the Forest Certification Assessment Tool for a full assessment of major forest certification schemes.