Rapidly Increase Consumer Demand
We aim to substantially increase our promotion of FSC as a consumer brand, inspiring collaborations with partners that achieve meaningful empowerment of people and conservation outcomes. At the same time, this will create benefits along the entire production chain from forests to consumers.
The total area of FSC certified forest and the number of chain of custody certificate holders has increased steadily over the years.
Assessing our Market
In 2017, we released the results of our global market survey, conducted during the previous year. The survey found that:
- 99 per cent of FSC certificate holders who have completed future planning is planning to renew their FSC certification.
- Over 80 per cent of certificate holders were satisfied with FSC.
- More than 90 per cent of participants planned to source a larger or comparable share of their products as FSC certified over the two years following the survey.
- About half the respondents believed that FSC was becoming increasingly relevant in their sector, and only 12 per cent considered it to be diminishing.
- Meeting client demand continued to be the top reason for becoming and staying FSC certified.
To showcase the value and recognition of the FSC brand across the globe, we produce the FSC Market Info Pack. This practical tool provides an overview of the evolution and growth of FSC certification and contains important insights into key sectors, market trends and innovations.
In addition to forest management certification, FSC also certifies forest product supply chain players to ensure that certified materials are verified as they move through the supply chain. These ‘chain of custody’ certifications are vital to the integrity of the FSC system. The number of chain of custody certificate holders has been growing strongly and consistently, which indicates a healthy trade in FSC-certified materials.
Transforming the Market
To understand levels of awareness in key markets, we researched consumer perceptions of the FSC brand in 2017. Our research was conducted in 13 countries, with over 10,000 consumers.
Our research found that most consumers believed sustainability claims should be independently certified. The research also confirmed FSC was a well-recognized logo (on average 50% of consumers sampled globally recalled seeing the FSC logo either often or occasionally).
Consumers in our study expressed very high levels of trust in FSC to make improvements towards protecting forests; significantly ahead of other organization types such as companies/brands and government. These findings strongly endorse the role of FSC as a valuable partner for establishing trust with consumers.
The FSC Trademark
Trademark licenses are awarded to retailers and other organizations that carry FSC-certified products but do not have an FSC certificate themselves. The number of trademark license holders has been growing strongly in recent years; in 2017, the number of increased by 11 per cent. These figures are encouraging and confirm that an increasing number of organizations are seeing the value of promoting the FSC brand to their customers and consumers.
The FSC Trademark Portal for certificate holders sees an average of over thirteen thousand labels generated each month. The portal, which already supports labels in 63 languages, had some of its functions translated into Chinese in 2017.
Sharing our Assets
Building on the success of our ongoing ‘Forests for All Forever’ campaign, we gathered all our designs, guidelines, impact stories, audiovisual material and the like, and packaged these into an online marketing toolkit. The platform allows certificate holders to download the material and use it in their own internal and external marketing and communications campaigns. The platform also provides an opportunity for stakeholders to demonstrate how they have embraced FSC campaigns.
Increasing Visibility of FSC at Global Events
In 2017, FSC coordinated and took part in a number of events.
- In Good Company, our well-known event to address the economic needs of our stakeholders, was held at our general assembly. Here we discussed three important topics: Delivering value from forest to consumer, fashion, and rubber.
- In Lima at the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTO), FSC presented research and proposals for the introduction of fiscal incentives in tropical forest countries to create a level playing field for sustainable forest management and for certified forestry, in particular. The Council then approved a proposal from its Executive Directors to include a project on “Incentives for green-growth value chain investments in tropical forests” in the ITTO work plan.
- In December, FSC hosted the annual meeting of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration.
- On the eve of the Global Landscapes Forum, in Bonn, Germany, FSC launched a publication on FSC’s contributions to forest restoration.
Market News from the Regions
FSC reached over 10,000 chain of custody certifications in the Asia Pacific region.
The Inaugural FSC Asia Pacific Business Forum was held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, attracting more than 100 FSC certificate holders across the region.
McDonald’s Taiwan opted for FSC-certified fibre products in more than 50 packaging items, including paper bags, paper cups, paper boxes and napkins.
Kirin Group in Japan committed to use FSC-certified paper material only for all of its six-can packagings in 2017 and to sourcing, only FSC-certified fibre materials for all of their paper packaging by 2020 for their Japan integrated beverages business.
In Belarus, FSC was added to the Belarusian commodity exchanges e-trading platform so consumers now have the option of choosing certified timber products when shopping.
In Poland, a campaign by Castorama in its magazine and at sales points reached more than 1.5 million consumers.
In France, a campaign to celebrate 10 years of FSC in the country reached journalists and web influencers with a video that has received over 200 thousand views.
In Germany, FSC brand awareness continues to grow with support from key retailers. In 2017, it is estimated that the FSC label was used at least 6.8 billion times on brochures, catalogues and similar materials in Germany.
FSC Netherlands launched a campaign called ‘Choose Wood, Save the Forest’ which was delivered in a national campaign.
In Ecuador, FSC hosted the Sacha Prize, an international award for sustainable projects, with 157 participants.
In Mexico, we celebrated a media day, where we introduced FSC to local journalists, with the aim of promoting the FSC label to consumers. This sparked much positive media coverage in the country.
One of the world’s largest retailers – Target – announced its Responsible Sourcing Policy for Forest Products that includes a preference for FSC and a commitment to “work with our suppliers to help them achieve full chain of custody and increase the penetration of FSC-certified products available in our stores and online.”
VF Corporation, one of the largest apparel conglomerates, with brands such as The North Face, Vans and Timberland, has released its new ‘Forest Derived Materials Policy’, with a preference for FSC in its clothing, paper and packaging practices.
Kimberly-Clark and WWF launched a branding partnership that aims to raise awareness of FSC through on-product labelling and marketing about the importance of choosing products from responsibly managed forests.
After Procter & Gamble’s launch of FSC-certified Puffs tissue products, Domtar worked to increase the certified land base in the Southeastern US, with more than 200,000 hectares added to the Four States Timber Owners Association group certificate to date.
More major corporate brands reinforced their preference for FSC products. 21st Century Fox announced their use of 70% FSC- certified plywood for set construction on their hit show ‘Legion’. Martin Guitars expanded their collection of FSC-certified guitars.
Influencing and Working within Policy
FSC was instrumental in the United Nations’ decision to include forest certification in the set of indicators to measure progress on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is an important signal to governments, business and civil society that forest certification is a relevant tool for sustainable management of forests.
The European Ecolabel systematically revises requirements for products, like furniture and paper, which use timber as important resources. It introduced requirements that stated that forest resources must have FSC (amongst others) chain-of-custody claims. Double labelling (FSC and the European Ecolabel) ensures responsible sourcing as well as minimized impacts on the environment in the production phase.
In Denmark, more than 80 per cent of all relevant public tenders included requirements for procuring sustainable timber; and certification was the preferred evidence to be provided. This shows the importance of public authorities in providing leadership on using certification as an efficient and effective way to create positive impacts through procurement.
FSC signed a co-funding agreement with IDH, the Dutch sustainable trade initiative, to carry out a project for the European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition. The focus is promoting a more positive and user-friendly message about how using FSC tropical timber can support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
FSC was re-elected in the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee to the UN Sustainable Public Procurement Programme.