Why all our garden furniture is FSC-certified
According to the Forest Stewardship Council®, known as FSC, every year worldwide an area half the size of the UK is cleared of natural forests. Forests play an important role in creating habitats for plants and animals, as well as providing a livelihood for many of the world’s poorest people. They even help combat global warming. Responsible timber sourcing has therefore been a priority for me whilst buying our garden furniture ranges. The issue is particularly important in this product area as tropical hardwoods are commonly used because they have unique properties for outdoor use.
We sell one of the widest ranges of garden furniture on the high street, which we source from many countries worldwide. This presents us with a real challenge in ensuring that we can trace each piece of furniture back to a responsibly managed forest. This is why the role of the FSC is so important, because both we as retailers and you as customers can rely on their trademark as a sign of a product that can be tracked all the way from the tree to your back garden.
A forest certified by FSC must be managed to the highest environmental, social and economic standards. Trees that are harvested are replanted or allowed to regenerate naturally, but just as importantly the forests must be managed with due respect for the environment, the wildlife and the people who live and work in them.
For example, FSC protects the rights of indigenous people to use the forest, so if they have sacred sites in that forest, these are exempt from felling. The forest owner must use local workers to run the forest, and provide training, safety equipment and a decent salary. The forest owner is often obliged to support the community in other ways, such as through the development of schools.
A number of other forest certification schemes do exist, but we are insisting on FSC-certification for our outdoor furniture because we believe that FSC (opens in new window) has the highest standards and carries out the most rigorous checking of the full supply chain. It’s also the only scheme endorsed by the major environmental groups, including WWF, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust.
These high standards mean that currently a relatively small percentage of the world’s productive forests are independently certified (approximately 5%), and it can take years for our suppliers to achieve FSC-certification. Since 2003 we’ve worked with our existing suppliers to encourage them to make the transition to be able to supply us with FSC-certified products, and have also built new relationships with suppliers who are already committed to the FSC standards.
It’s been a long haul – but we’re really pleased that all our wooden garden furniture ranges are now FSC-certified (opens in new window). So - if you want to be sure that you’re helping to make a positive contribution to our planet, look out for the FSC logo on our John Lewis garden furniture, barbecues and tools.