Green Wood and the FSC Label

filed under: Uncategorized posted on May 19th, 2009

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There is green wood and there is ‘Green’ wood.  One is not great to build with and the other is your best choice when considering using wood in your home.  Perhaps you are updating your home with new floors- hardwood flooring is definitely the ‘hot ticket’ today for home decor.  But did you know that you can have a perfectly ‘Green’ wood floor if you are just a little bit more discerning? 

What you want to look for are woods that are FSC Certified.  The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.  Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.  

FSC’s standards are the highest social and environmental requirements in the forestry sector and they have proven to work across continents, forest types, sizes and ownership. The FSC standards setting process is transparent, democratic and inclusive with many opportunities for the interested public to participate. It is this process that has allowed FSC to become an important and recognized forum where innovative solutions have become possible with the support of all stakeholder groups interested in forestry issues. FSC is the only certification system in forestry recognized by ISEAL (Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards) to follow best-practice in standard setting.

What sets the FSC apart from other forest certification systems is their commitment to all aspects of forest management.  Their stewarship benefits the eco-system and protects against deforestation but also is concerned with habitat for indigenous creatures and the economic effects on the indigenous peoples.  The FSC doesn’t promote plantation farming but managed harvesting of natural forest areas.  Plantation farming can be harmful to the soil and does not provide habitat for woodland species.  The FSC also promotes the use of a varied assortment of woods so that one type is not over-harvested and endangered. 

Bamboo is often thought of as a Green product for flooring.  And it is.  Bamboo is actually a grass, not a wood and it is a fast growing and easily replentishable resourse.  But you should be careful when choosing a bamboo floor for your home.   Bamboo is very soft so high traffic areas will show signs of wear and some less expensive bamboo floors can delaminate.  Because bamboo has become so popular, often times it’s harvested too early in it’s lifecycle.  Younger bamboo is considerly softer and less durable.  One must also be aware of how their bamboo flooring is being installed.  There’s nothing worse than going to the trouble of installing a ‘Green’ product such as a bamboo floor and then having toxic glue adhering it to the sub-floor.  Some of the adhesives used in flooring installation can off-gas for over a year.  It would really be a shame if your bamboo floor was worn out just as the glue stopped stinking up the place!  Bamboo can be a great product to use and can be very beautiful but ask the right questions and be sure the installation is as green as the product.

There are also many lovely hardwoods you can use and still have a ‘Green’ heart and home.   Look for the FSC Certified label and you can feel confident that your beautiful floor isn’t a burden on our beautiful planet.  FSC Certified woods are likely to cost a little more than non-certified products but if it’s the natural glow of wood that you want in your home, it’s really a small price to pay to keep our forests alive and healthy and over time, costs will go down as more people insist on FSC Certified products and supply meets demand. 

Thank goodness for organizations like the FSC that are helping to maintain our quality of life by protecting our life sustaining forests.  Remember to look for the FSC Certified label next time you buy wood.   

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