What it Means to be Sustainable
by Sarah Preece
There is a general consensus that our demand for tropical hardwood in the UK is a dominant contributing factor to an illegal and destructive logging trade originating in rainforests around the world. This deforestation has been widely publicised. It’s known to be causing a widespread loss of biodiversity, displacing local communities and contributing to climate change. We’ve heard these sentences before, we know an area the size of a football pitch is being lost every two seconds, this resonates with us, but what response can we give? What decisions can we make that will really affect this truth?
The answer is simple: as consumers we have the power. We have the ability to decide where we purchase our products from and we can ensure our suppliers are doing all they can to be sustainable and environmentally considerate. Here at Sustainable Kitchens our choices are clear, we either buy timber from environmentally and socially responsible sources such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), or we risk working with unethical illegal materials. Our resulting practise is therefore simple: all timbers must be certified – but what does this actually mean?
The FSC stands for ‘Forest Stewardship Council’. They are an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forestry.
How do they do this?
Forests are inspected by approved independent organisations against strict standards based on the FSC’s 10 Principles of Forest Stewardship.
The 10 Principles
Forest Management are responsible for the implantation of these principles, they outline criteria that must be adhered to before a FSC certificate can be awarded. So what do they ask the forest management to do?
1. Firstly, they must ensure international and country specific laws and FSC principles are followed.
2. There must be clear evidence of rights to use the forestry land in the long term, this ensures:
3. Indigenous people’s rights are adhered to, their needs not only recognised but respected.
4. The well-being of forest workers and communities living around the forest are maintained.
5. The benefits from the forest should be efficient, encouraging diversity with the production of multiple products and services.
6. Active conservation of the existing environment is essential, plans should be clear on how forestry management will limit their impact.
7. There shall be a substantial forestry management plan in place, this shall be implemented and kept up to date.
8. All above plans and actions shall be continuously monitored and recorded.
9. In high conservation value forests, management must take extra precautions and these precautions should be carefully recorded in their plans.
10. Finally, within the context of plantations, additional criteria must be adhered to.
These principles ensure timber is as sustainable as possible, and the FSC, working since 1990 have established a respectable reputation to deliver this. Other certifying bodies also exist, including the PEFC, CSA and SFI.
There is one thing that’s certain, with world demand for timber set to triple by 2050, it’s essential for us all to make informed and educated decisions when they so closely affect our planet’s very own green lungs.
At Sustainable Kitchens we only used FSC and PEFC Certified timber. Knowing that the wood we source comes from responsibly managed woodlands means a lot to us. Find out more about our Environmental Policy here.