Over the past twenty or thirty years, people have become increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. The removal of trees from wild forest is a cause of habitat loss, loss of productive top soil, desertification and climate change.
Most people would prefer to buy wood products that come from sustainable sources. Wood that comes from Europe and North America will nearly always be sustainable. But, many of the hardwood decking products originate from Asia where environmental controls are weak. Until recently there was no solution to the dilemma of being environmentally conscious as well as demanding hardwood performance. Now there is an alternative, it is called ‘Accoya’ and it is resilient, durable treated timber which has longevity characteristics exceeding tropical hardwoods, yet it is simply acetylated softwood.
The majority of decks are made with timber from softwoods that come from sustainable forests in Northern Europe. Even these woods have generated environmental concerns due to the fuel used to transport it to the target market.
Forestry Stewardship Council
The Forestry Stewardship Council, or FSC, is a non-profit organization that certifies that wood comes from sources that comply with the highest environmental and social standards on the market. The aim of the FSC is to provide a credible solution to the complex social and environmental issues that concern modern consumers.
FSC certification has five steps:
- The supplier contacts one or more of the accredited certification bodies to get a quote for their requirements.
- They choose one of the certification bodies to work with.
- A certification audit takes place to assess the business.
- The certification body reviews the audit and makes the certification decision.
- The body awards an FSC certification if the decision is positive. Otherwise the supplier will have the opportunity to correct the failures and apply again.
The certificate lasts for five years and demonstrates that the supplier is a great place to buy wood from. The certification process tracks back any wood to its source and checks that every part of the supply chain complies with highest standards.
Many of the leading environmental organizations support the work of the FSC, including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund.
How Do You Tell if Your Supply is FSC Certified
The FSC provides an online search facility which you can use to see if a product, species or supplier has actually been issued with a certificate. You can find this search here – FSC Certificate Checker.