Wednesday, April 16, 2008

FSC Family Forest Certification Moves Forward

FSC news release top


FSC-US and the FSC Family Forests Alliance Announce

Next Steps in Standards Development Process


Reston, VA; April 16, 2008 -  Forest product and forestland certification are rapidly gaining recognition in the marketplace as vehicles for  rewarding responsible forest management practices.  More than 250 million acres of forests are certified around the world under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard.  Despite the growth in forest certification, it is often difficult for small ownerships and family forests to participate. 


“Family forests are an important part of the landscape and provide critically important ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, water quality protection, and wildlife habitat,” says Corey Brinkema, President of FSC-US.


At meetings held in Minneapolis on April 7th and 8th, the FSC-US undertook the next steps for expanding family forest certification opportunities in the United States.


“In the U.S. almost 60% of the forests are privately owned and it is important to include these lands in forest stewardship efforts,” says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners and Secretariat for the FSC Family Forests Alliance, a collaborative group that is advocating for expanded access to FSC certification opportunities for small privately owned forests.


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the fastest growing global forest certification program and the only one endorsed by the world’s leading environmental and social non-governmental organizations.  In the U.S, the FSC has developed a Family Forests Program to ensure small landowners will be able to receive the benefits of FSC certification and sell their products under the FSC label.


“Our Family Forests Working Group was brought together to complete a process of reviewing the existing FSC certification standards and to offer recommendations on how to more effectively engage small landowners,” says Brinkema.


The FSC-US’s Family Forests Working Group includes representatives from the FSC Family Forests Alliance and other stakeholders. 


“My hope, and the hope of other Working Group members, is to use our many years of experience working with family forest certification, and the lessons we’ve learned to help make the program work better for everyone while still maintaining the high standards that are expected of FSC certification,” says John Gunn of the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands, an Alliance core organizer.


Additional meetings of the working group are planned in May 2008, and a public review and comment period will be announced later this summer. The full standards review and approval process is anticipated to be completed before the end of the year.

For more information:


About Forest Stewardship Council

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way. FSC-US, based in Reston, VA, is the U.S. National Initiative of FSC International, based in Bonn, Germany.


About FSC Family Forests Alliance

The FSC Family Forests Alliance has been created to provide a national mechanism for bringing together individuals and organizations committed to promoting responsible forest stewardship through FSC standards. By creating a forum for communication, cooperation, and information sharing, participants in the Alliance can pursue issues of common interest, learn from one another, and enlarge the community of landowners and small businesses practicing responsible forestry.



Sunday, April 13, 2008

World's first FSC-certified bamboo plywood and flooring


San Francisco, Calif. Smith & Fong Co., manufacturer of Plyboo bamboo architectural plywood and flooring, today announced it has secured certification according to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and established the sustainability of its bamboo forest resource, enabling the company to produce the worlds first range of FSC-certified bamboo plywood and flooring.

Product will be available to the North American market by this summer.

The independent European FSC-certifier Institut fr Marktogie (IMO) was impressed with our forestry practices and agreed that if we could meet the same FSC standards for a tree forest, it would certify our bamboo source, Smith & Fong president and founder Dan Smith said. We have been working with the bamboo forests and telling our story for more than a decade now, and were grateful to both FSC and IMO for validating our efforts.

We are pleased that Smith & Fong has expanded the North American marketplace for certified products by offering bamboo plywood and flooring with the FSC label, FSC-US president Corey Brinkema said. FSC is the worlds most highly respected certification for forest products. Whether a product is made of a traditional wood species, or a less traditional non-timber forest resource like bamboo, it is important for consumers to know that the forest is being managed to high social and environmental standards.

Smith & Fongs certified products will qualify for the FSC Pure designation, as they are 100-percent FSC material from an FSC-certified forest and have been sold and/or processed by an FSC chain-of-custody certified company. Smith further stated that the companys sources use no irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers in growing their bamboo. This is not only a success for the forests and the farmers who grow our bamboo, he said. Its a victory for everyone who believes in a sustainable future.

Smith & Fongs chain of custody (COC) certificate is from the SmartWood program of the Rainforest Alliance: SW-COC-003124.

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in San Francisco, Smith & Fong Co. was the first U.S. company to manufacture bamboo flooring in China for sale in North America, offering its first product in 1993. In 1996 the firm began producing bamboo plywood, followed by coconut palm flooring and plywood products in 2000. Smith & Fong is committed to sustainability and innovation.