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What FSC® means and why we're members

What does FSC® mean and why we're members.

We strive, wherever possible, to reduce the impact of our organisation which is why Ecoware holds the FSC® Chain of Custody (COC) Certification (FSC-C142978). 
The problems caused by petroleum-based conventional plastics are evident—high energy and resource consumption, environmental pollution and climate change acceleration. Removing plastics from our eateries, festivals, planes, and venues is a win. However, we must consider materials and their sources. In this article, we highlight the role of FSC® in protecting our forests and why we must.

What does FSC® mean?

The Internet is often asked and (FSC®) is, The Forest Stewardship Council—a non-profit organisation. FSC® certifications are internationally recognised as the most rigorous environmental and social standard for responsible forest management. 

Ecoware and FSC® 

With a company tag line, ‘produced by nature' our products—the raw materials are mainly plants. We use the worlds most advanced manufacturing technology to turn plants, into packaging, enabling companies to remove polluting virgin plastics from their supply chain with low emission, certified compostable packaging. We do however use paper in some of our products—paper is the main component of our world famous EcoCup, our toilet paper cartons, Birch for our range of wooden cutlery and bamboo pulp for our food containers. And we want to know that we are using the worlds most trusted organisation to audit and monitor our raw material supply.

Since inception, Ecoware has focused on being the worlds most forward thinking, industry leading, sustainable packaging company working towards accelerating circular economy.

Every aspect of what we do as a company is fundamentally driven for the better good. Sustainability is in our DNA, and with that said, we hold ourselves accountable and do everything we can to reduce, mitigate or remove the negative impact our organisation is having on the planet. We are first to admit we are not perfect, but we strive to do everything we can to reduce our impact. 

We place immense value on supply chain transparency which is why Ecoware holds the FSC® Chain of Custody (COC) Certification, first issued in August 2018 (FSC-C142978). We do not manufacture, but we purchase from manufacturers who are FSC® certified. 

Why FSC®?

Providing the highest level of protection for rare and endangered forests and wildlife of any existing forest certification scheme, FSC® includes endorsements from the world's largest and most respected environmental NGOs, such as Greenpeace and WWF. Every process and decision is open to public review, and all product claims are independently audited, so there's transparency. It also remains the only forest certification system that requires consultation with local Indigenous Peoples to protect their rights. The organisation provides three types of certification:

— FSC® Forest Management (FM) Certification

— FSC® Chain of Custody (COC) Certification

— FSC® Accredited Certification Bodies

Increasingly, businesses are promoting responsible forestry and tree-planting campaigns as it also remains part of the answer to slowing climate change. And while some of these communications are well-intentioned, others are deceptive. Without third party endorsement, we cannot know whether these businesses are creating more responsible business practices or if they damage and degrade the health of the planet and those who inhabit it.

What is the role of FSC®? 

Beyond preserving trees, the FSC® forest management standards expand water quality protection, prohibit harvest of rare old-growth forests, prevent loss of natural forest cover and prohibit highly hazardous chemicals. And managed forests fall under the following categories.

Afforestation—planting trees in places where they never existed before. In Aotearoa, this includes dairy and beef farms converted to forestry.

Reforestation—replanting trees in places that were previously clearcut. It occurs with plantations where cut trees are replanted within 18 months to protect the soil.

Proforestation—policies that allow existing forests to grow intact to their full ecological potential. Some forestry companies see the potential of areas to be regenerative, sequestering carbon. Potentially for selling carbon credits.

Understanding labels

While the FSC® logo makes a somewhat complicated process and the chains of supply easier to understand for us all, let us further elaborate:

— FSC® 100%: Product comes from FSC® certified forests. 

— FSC® recycled: The wood or paper in a product comes from reclaimed material.

— FSC® mixed: At least 70% of the wood in a product comes from FSC ®-certified or recycled material, while 30% is controlled wood.

How to know if a brand is certified

While our products are made from plants rather than fossil fuels—and thus, have a lower carbon footprint—it remains vital we also consider the impacts of our raw materials and the connections these materials have to the planet's health.

For sustainability-minded businesses, taking responsibility for their products becomes incredibly important. To learn more about FSC®Certified companies, materials and products, you can access the Global FSC®Certificate Database and Product Classification tool.

Better communication could help

The marketplace has provided no end of language designed to confuse customers into thinking they are making better choices and spending their money in the right places. Whatever the strategy, the aim is always to distance us from the reality of the product. The more transparently we speak about the product—whether it is a coffee cup or pizza box and what the product is made from, the more conscious we are of its impact.

Many of us interact with takeaway packing, and often, the connections between the packaging and the resources used to produce them are hidden behind complex supply chains, making it all too easy for us to avoid a sense of responsibility. But the more we remind ourselves of these connections—the more responsible are the choices we will make.

What can I do to encourage businesses to do better?

We'd be happy to send samples to any businesses. If you're involved in one, own one, or know one that needs better packaging, drop us a line, and we'll get it sorted!