Timber is not only an useful building product, it is also an important raw material for other products such as paper, furniture, toys, ... Sustainable forest management is applied increasingly more to reduce the pressure of timber extraction on the environment. But how can you know if the product that you buy originates from sustainably managed forest?
Fortunately, we have labels for that. Currently, there are two accepted labels for certified timber: FSC and PEFC.
The FSC label refers to the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent international non-governmental organisation (NGO) that was set up in 1993 and is supported by numerous social organisations and environmental movements, wood importers, dealers and processors, forest managers and organisations for the rights of indigenous peoples. The FSC promotes worldwide forestry management that is responsible, has a social dimension and is economically viable (see FSC Belgium and FSC Worldwide, available only in English). Tropical wood varieties can also be given an FSC label.
The PEFC label refers to the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes council, an independent international non-governmental and non-profit organisation that was launched in 1999 by the European wood industry. The PEFC council promotes the certification of sustainable forestry management (see FSC Belgium and FSC Worldwide, available only in English)).
Today the choice between certified wood varieties is much wider and the search engines on the FSC-label and PEFC-label websites enable users to find the wood they are looking for. Working with certified wood requires perhaps just a slight adjustment in mental approach. Anyone looking for a specific wood variety (such as Massaranduba) may not find it under certified wood. But for those whose starting point is the application and technological requirements to which wood should comply (such as sustainability category, volumic mass), there is usually a range of different wood varieties
You can read more about both labels in the folder 'Choosing labelled timber makes all the difference'.
The Belgian government contributes to the promotion of durably produced timber. An agreement was concluded with the timber sector in 2011 with the objective of increasing the share of durably produced timber on the Belgian market. You can read here more about the sectoral timber agreement.