The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting “environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.” FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable way. To achieve it’s mission and vision, FSC developed a set of 10 principles and 57 criteria that address legal compliance, indigenous rights, labor rights, multi-beneficial use, maintenance, management, and environmental impacts related to forest management. Lands in over 80 countries worldwide have been FSC certified, including over 35 million acres right here in the U.S.
Potlatch Corporation is the largest publicly-traded company in the United States to be FSC certified (with about 1.7 million acres in four states). Potlatch’s lands in Minnesota have been FSC certified since 2005 (as well as its lands in Arkansas since 2005, lands in Idaho since 2004, and lands in Wisconsin since 2007). FSC is the world’s strongest certification system and is considered to be the most credible sustainable forestry standard among the environmental community. Landowners and companies that sell timber or forest products seek certification as a way to verify to consumers that they have practiced forestry consistent with FSC standards. At their 20th anniversary gala on May 16, 2007 in New York City, the Rainforest Alliance awarded Potlatch for its sustainable forestry efforts recognizing that Potlatch has “…significantly advanced the goals set forth by the Rainforest Alliance and have integrated environmental and social sustainability into their work.”
To remain FSC certified, an independent certification organization accredited by FSC carries out asessments of Potlatch’s forest managment to determine if the FSC standards have been met. The organization not only the standard principles, criteria, and indicators, but also contacts stakeholders within the communities in which Potlatch operates to verify conformance to the standard.