Do you know you can have eco-friendly hardwood floors that are made from standard hardwood varieties? When it comes to sustainability in your flooring, there is a wide selection to choose from including recycled, reclaimed and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified possibilities.
What is the Forest Stewardship Council?
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international not-for-profit organization that sets standards, finds solutions for existing bad forestry practices and promotes responsible management and sustainability of the world’s forests. By purchasing products with their label, consumers are supporting environmentally responsible management of one of the Earth’s important resources.
The FSC was founded in 1993 after conversations surrounding the Earth Summit in Rio the previous year. As the question, “What is sustainable forestry?” had emerged globally due to the increasing demand on natural resources, a group of loggers, foresters, environmentalists and sociologists came together to change the dialogue about and the practice of sustainability and forestry worldwide.
Today, nearly a decade later, the FSC’s principles, criteria and standards reach across economic, social and environmental concerns in more than 57 countries around the world. The organization’s standards continue to represent the world's strongest system for guiding forest management toward sustainable outcomes.
What is the Criteria for FSC-Certification?
The FSC’s principles and criteria for forest management address legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts surrounding sustainability and forest management. These criteria include:
- Compliance with local laws and FSC principles.
- Tenure and use rights & responsibilities of the land and forest will be clearly defined.
- Indigenous peoples have the rights to own, use and manage their land & resources.
- The social and economic wellbeing of the forest workers and local communities will be maintained or enhanced.
- Forest management will encourage efficient use of the land’s products and services.
- Forest management will conserve biological diversity and maintain ecological functions & integrity of the forest.
- A management plan will be written, implemented and kept up to date.
- The area will be monitored to assess the condition of the forest, yields of products, chain of custody, management activities and social & environmental impact.
- Management activities in high conservation value forests will maintain or enhance the attributes that define the area.
- Plantations will be planned and managed with the above principles and criteria.
Sustainability and Hardwood Flooring: Options for Your Home
As hardwood floors are already an eco-friendly choice (manufactured materials like plastics release more CO2 into the atmosphere than wood does), sustainable wood is simply that which comes for a source being replaced by new growth.
The FSC awards their stamp of approval on products that ensure certain stewardship standards have been met. A wide range of flooring woods come with the FSC stamp, including cherry, maple, birch, ash, Douglas fir, oak and more. As a consumer, all you need to do is select a product with an FSC label.
Additional ways to add sustainable hardwood flooring to your home include:
- Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring: This is wood salvaged from old buildings, river bottoms, trees removed from urban settings, etc. Using reclaimed wood can give your hardwood floors a like-new or antique appearance, and comes in a variety of lengths and widths. As availability can be unpredictable, we recommend you plan as far in advance as possible if this is the type of sustainable wood floor you choose.
- Suppressed Wood Flooring: When a forest becomes too dense, it can result in disease and fire susceptibility. Small trees are removed from the area to thin it out; these trees make excellent sustainable hardwood floors.
San Jose Hardwood Floors carries the following manufacturers that have reclaimed, recycled, certified and suppressed hardwood for homeowners to choose from:
Remember to look for hardwood floors bearing the FSC Logo when you pick out your new, eco-friendly flooring. Check out these websites for more information about sustainability in the field of forestry, too:
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Sustainable Forest Management
- Sustainable Forest Products: Wood Resource Institute
At San Jose Hardwood Floors we have a lot of samples to view in our showroom, and our experts would be happy to help you choose the best fit for your home through a free in-home consultation. Contact us today!