FSC® certification: What it is and why you should look for it

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Healthy forests are key to a healthy planet. They do so much for the world’s ecosystems, from providing habitats for wildlife to preventing soil erosion. And since trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, forests are a valuable way to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

They also provide lots of materials that we use in everyday products. These include wood, rubber, cellulose fibres (used in clothing and textile manufacturing) and — importantly — paper.

In theory, forests can provide all the materials we need indefinitely — as long as we manage them in a responsible way. While trees can be harvested, the forest also needs time to regrow. If we don’t cut down trees more quickly than the forest has time to regenerate, forests can continue to serve as healthy ecosystems — and as reliable and sustainable sources of raw materials.

That’s why it’s important to make sure that we all take care of our forests, ensuring we don’t do permanent damage or contribute to deforestation. The Forest Stewardship Council® exists to help us do just that, all while promoting and certifying sustainable forest management — from tree to final product. Read on to find out more about the FSC® and why it’s worth looking out for products with the FSC® mark.

What is the FSC®?

The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is the world’s leading organisation for responsible forest management. They are a global, not-for-profit organisation that brings together experts from environmental, economic and social areas to promote sustainable methods of taking care of forests for future generations.
As part of their mission, the FSC® runs a global certification that ensures that healthy forests are maintained, and the rights of forestry workers and forest dwellers are protected.

You can read more about the details of certification types in this article, but in short, there are two main certificates available: the Forest Management Certification and Chain of Custody Certification. At Vista, we are FSC® certified with the Chain of Custody certificate.

What is the FSC® Chain of Custody certification?

This certification applies to people that use materials after they’ve been harvested. It checks that everything, from the paper mill to the end product, has been environmentally compliant.

After harvest, FSC® certified material is tracked all along the supply chain and kept separate from non-certified material. From beginning to end, the product is environmentally compliant with FSC® criteria and expectations. What’s more, all companies involved in the supply chain, including printers, retailers and harvesters, must be FSC® certified. It is when all of those criteria are met and verified that the FSC® issues its Chain of Custody certification.

Vista’s FSC® Chain of Custody certificate number is FSC®C125299.

What does it mean to buy FSC® Certified products?

By purchasing a product that is FSC® certified, you can know that:

  • The product has been recognised as being environmentally responsible.
  • Sacred sites and trees are protected, and the rights of indigenous people are respected.
  • Trees used for the product are able to naturally regenerate or are replaced sustainably.
  • Forest owners must employ local workers and pay them a fair wage, provide necessary safety equipment and relevant job training.

How do I know if a product is FSC® certified?

When a company has received an official certification, then products are marked with the official FSC® logo (the ‘tick tree’). Only products that have been assessed and approved are allowed to show this mark, so you can rest assured that your product has come from an FSC® certified forest or from FSC® approved recycled material.

FSC® certified products at VistaPrint

95% of VistaPrint paper products are printed on FSC® certified paper, so it’s highly likely that any paper-based products that you order from VistaPrint are printed on paper that has been confirmed as FSC® certified. If you’re not sure, then check the product page — we show the FSC® mark on products that are printed on FSC® paper.

All of our paper business cards are FSC® certified, except ColourFill, Coloured Paper and Ultra-Thick paper types. Plus, most of our marketing materials such as brochures, postcards, and sticker sheets are printed on FSC® certified paper.

We also have FSC® signage options, such as cardboard signs and wooden signs, that have been certified as responsibly forested. And our invites, announcements and even finishing touches like custom packaging tape are FSC® certified.

Check out more of our eco products, including products that are PVC-free and made of recycled materials.