Some of your products aren’t produced with social and environmental consciences. Where does your product really come from? As a matter of fact, who actually made or produced your product?
The Importance of an FSC Certificate and Rainforest Alliance Certificate
Some of your products aren’t produced with social and environmental consciences. Where does your product really come from? As a matter of fact, who actually made or produced your product? In two words, FSC provides full transparency and traceability of the whole production process, as well as the final product itself. Or in other words: an FSC certificate allows you to make informed choices about forest products and create a positive change.
This article has a fair amount of information about FSC and its certifications, why you should care about FSC certified products, and Vita Talalay’s certification.
FSC, WHAT IS IT?
FSC, short for Forest Stewardship Council®, is a global, not-for –profit organization which is dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide. It all started when a group of timber users, traders, and representatives of human rights and environmental organizations met. This group of diverse people had concerns about increasing deforestation, environmental degradation, and social exclusion. In this meeting it was pointed out that there was a need for a credible system that could identify well-managed forests as the sources for many wood products
What does the FSC do?
FSC has found a credible way to identify well managed forests. Through the certificates the FSC creates an incentive for forest owners and managers to create the best social and environmental practices. FSC has developed a set of 10 principles and a set of criteria for the assessment of responsible forest management. Forests are only certified if they have met the highest environmental, social, and economical standards. FSC has three types of certifications. These certificates are Forest Management, Chain of Custody, and Controlled Wood.
THE THREE FSC CERTIFICATES
The Forest Management FSC certificates are awarded to forest managers or owners that meet the FSC standards and principles. Forest owners need to manage their forests in such a way that their management is in alignment with the FSC principles and criteria. Before forest managers can get an FSC certificate, the managed forest will undergo an assessment. The assessment of the forest consists of two parts: the pre-assessment and the main evaluation.
During the brief pre-assessment, several parts of the forest are flagged up. In these flagged areas management may not meet the applicable requirements. After filling the requirement gaps and application for a full evaluation, the in-depth evaluation assessment starts. In the main assessment the social, economic, and environmental conditions are fully evaluated.
At the end of the evaluation, areas where the management does not meet the applicable requirements, known as non-conformities, are reported to the forest manager. If there are only minor non-conformities, the certificate will be awarded on condition that actions will be taken. However, if there are major non-conformities then the certificate won’t be awarded until the non-conformities have been solved.
Chain of Custody
The Chain of Custody FSC certificate is for the manufacturers, processors, and traders of FSC certified forest products. The whole supply chain undergoes an assessment to make sure that FSC -certified material is identified or kept separated from non-certified or non-controlled material during the whole chain.
Controlled wood is material that can be mixed with FSC certified material during the manufacture en FSC mix. The controlled wood certification is the highest standard for non FSC certified material. Materials can only be used as controlled if they are from FSC-acceptable sources. There are 5 types of materials that are identified as unacceptable and those cannot be mixed with FSC certified material:
1. Illegally harvested wood
2. Wood harvested in violation of traditional human rights
3. Wood harvested in which high conservation values are treated by management activities.
4. Wood harvested in forests that are being turned into plantations or non-forest use.
5. Wood harvested from forest in which genetically modified trees are planted.
THE 10 FSC PRINCIPLES
As stated before, The FSC has developed 10 principles for the assessment of well-managed forest. These are the 10 principles:
Principle 1:Being in line with all laws, regulations, treaties, conventions and agreements, and also with all principles and criteria.
Principle 2: Define, document and legally create long-term holding and user rights.
Identify and support native peoples’ rights of ownership and use of land and resources.
Maintain or strengthen forest workers' and local communities’ social and economic well-being.
Continue or strengthen long term economic, social and environmental benefits from the forest.
Maintain or restore the ecosystem, its biodiversity, resources and landscapes.
Have a management plan, implemented, monitored and documented.
Demonstrate progress towards management objectives.
Preserve or strengthen the attributes which define. high conservation value forests.
Plan and manage plantations in accordance with FSC principles and criteria.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT AN FSC CERTIFICATE
FSC certification can positively impact workers and communities, governance can be shift globally, and change in economic and environmental conditions in the forest. Products with the FSC label are identified as products with their roots from well-managed forests. In addition, by buying FSC certified products you are also assured that you have a product that brings the highest social and economic benefits. As mentioned before, FSC is dedicated to promoting responsible forest management worldwide. An interesting fact about FSC is that it is the only certification system that is backed up by the WWF, Greenpeace, and Planet Ark.
Trees produce oxygen and store carbon dioxide. Without trees, life on earth is impossible. Because deforestation happens at an increasing rate, it is important to preserve the forest. With some protection the forest can still be used as a source. Here follow some serious facts about forests:
1. Rainforests are a source for more than 120 natural remedies
2. 30 million species of plant and animals live in tropical rainforest alone
3. Millions of native and local people are completely dependent on the forest
4. Forests help regulate the impact of climate change
5. 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon forest
6. Over the past 50 years the earth has lost half of its original forests cover
7. Nowadays around 30 per cent of the world’s land area is covered with forests
8. After just having read this paragraph, we have already lost forest areas equal to 20 football fields
OUR FSC CERTIFICATE
Vita Talalay produces latex mattresses, latex pillows and latex mattress toppers. The Vita Talalay latex is made from the sap of the rubber trees, also known as Hevea Brasiliensis. This tree grows mainly in South America’s rainforests. The rubber tree produces two types of natural rubber. These two types of rubber are a solid form and a liquid form. The liquid form of rubber is also known as the natural latex. Tubes of latex grow around the bark of the tree. The latex is extracted by hand from the crust of the rubber tree. This extraction, also known as rubber tapping, is done by making a cut in the tree’s bark from which the latex flows into a small bowl.
Because Vita Talalay is a user of a source from the rubber trees, we have been granted the Chain of Custody certification the first in the latex bedding industry. The FSC certification ensures that the complete chain of custody is managed responsibly throughout the entire production process. This means in Vita Talalay’s case from the seed to the rubber tree to the produced latex mattress, topper or pillow. This allows for the whole production process to be both completely transparent and traceable. The certification has been awarded to the Natural Vita Talalay latex bedding material. The certified Natural Vita Talalay latex material carries the FSC 100% label. The FSC 100% label is especially for products with all the timber or fiber from FSC certified forests.
The FSC certification confirms that the Natural Vita Talalay bedding material is produced with natural latex from well-managed forests. Now if you are looking for bedding, you have a choice to buy a product with a positive impact on the economic and environmental conditions of forests.
Although we are using FSC certified latex, we meet both FSC and Rainforest Alliance certification requirements.
Rainforests are vital to our ecosystem. The biodiversity within these woods is a major source of inspiration for groundbreaking science, medicine and innovation while the trees help keep the water cycle in place, thus keeping the soil and fresh water in a prime state. Alas, today over half of the Earth's rainforests are gone to make space for palm oil plantations, cattle ranches and housing.
The Rainforest Alliance has been fighting against deforestation for over 30 years by working pragmatically with farms, organisations and building communities. A Rainforest Alliance seal communicates an understanding of the value of biodiversity, sustainability and equality.