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Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
History and Background

Some history

In the wake of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 1992
(Rio Summit), concerned business representatives, social groups and environmental organizations got together and established the Forest Stewardship Council. Its purpose is to improve forest management worldwide.

What began in as not much more than an innovative idea has turned into the leading model for environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and  economically viable forest stewardship. Today, FSC is the only internationally recognized standard setting organization for responsible forest management supported by the corporate sector as well as environmental organizations and social groups.

This is how it all began:

First meeting of a group of timber users, traders and representatives of environmental and human-rights organizations in California, USA. This varied group of people had in common that all had identified the need for a system that could credibly identify well-managed forests as source of responsibly produced forest products.

At this meeting it was agreed that this system would be based on a global consensus of  what good forest management means. The name "Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)" was already coined at this meeting.

Intensive consultation processes in ten countries find support for a worldwide certification and accreditation system covering all forest types independent of ownership or geographic location and including natural forests as well as plantations.

March Washington D.C., USA. Interim FSC Board of Directors established.

First FSC certificates issued (forest management certificate in Mexico, chain of custody certificate in the USA).

October FSC Founding Assembly in Toronto, Canada. 130 participants from 26 countries attend. First FSC Board of Directors elected.
April First FSC Executive Director appointed - Mr. Tim Synnott.

Summer The office of the FSC Secretariat opened in Oaxaca, Mexico with only three staff.

Founding members approve FSC Principles and Criteria, together with the FSC Statutes (today called By-Laws).

The FSC is now officially born.

February FSC is established as a legal entity in Mexico.

First four Accreditation Contracts signed for Forest Management certification. First certified and labeled FSC product available in the UK (wooden spatula). 

FSC Board of Directors endorses first FSC Working Group (UK).

Principle 10 for plantations ratified by the FSC membership.

June First FSC General Assembly in Oaxaca, Mexico.

January First FSC National Standard endorsed (Sweden). Group certification for forest management introduced.

First Non-Timber Forest Product working group meeting (Brazil).

Mid 10 million hectares certified to FSC standards.

November First FSC Annual Conference.

June Second FSC General Assembly in Oaxaca.

First FSC certified and labeled NTFP product - Chicle gum (Mexico). First complete book printed on FSC-certified paper: "A Living Wage" by Lawrence B. Glickman.

End Tenth certification body accredited. The new Millennium brings rapid expansion and recognition

Global Certified Trade Fair in London, UK. More than 1000 participants from 52 countries.

November Second FSC Annual Conference.

Beginning Second FSC Executive Director appointed - Mr. Maharaj Muthoo.

Summer Third FSC Executive Director appointed - Mr. Heiko Liedeker.

December FSC receives the City of Göteborg International Environmental Prize.

Spring Policies on Group Certification of chain of custody, and sampling for multi-site organizations developed. Board of Directors decision to establish the FSC International Center in Bonn, Germany.

April Forest Leadership Forum, Conference and Trade Fair in Atlanta, USA, with about 1,350 visitors from 45 countries and 200 exhibitors.

September FSC Board of Directors endorses FSC Social Strategy. The objective is to effectively deliver the social benefits of certification.

November Third FSC General Assembly of Members, held in Oaxaca, Mexico.January 2003 Re-location of the FSC Secretariat from Oaxaca, Mexico to the FSC International Center in Bonn, Germany. The staff has now grown to 25 people.

FSC establishes FSC Regional Office in Africa. 20 000 FSC certified products on the market.

December 40 million hectares of FSC certified forests worldwide, with 10 million hectares certified in 2003 alone. Current facts and figures.

First FSC Trade Fair showing exclusively FSC products in Brazil. FSC 10-year anniversary. First FSC Global Paper Forum. FSC Russia Regional Office opens. FSC SLIMF Standards come into force after two years of development. The FSC ‘Small and Low Intensity Management Forest’ Initiative has developed these streamlined standards to further equitable access of FSC certification also with small-scale, community-based, low-intensity pr non-timber product operations. The SLIMF Standards are one outcome of the FSC Social Strategy.

September Launch of the FSC Plantations Review.

December FSC wins prestigious ALCAN prize for sustainability and is awarded one million USD over three years for the contribution it has made towards improving forest management around the world.

January FSC opens Russia national office.

December Fourth FSC General Assembly in Manaus, Brazil. More than 300 FSC members attend. FSC members of the Global South are represented in unprecedented force and submit the majority of motions.

March FSC creates Accreditation Services International GmbH (ASI) to manage the FSC accreditation program.

April Second FSC Certified Trade Fair in Brazil.

May More than 10 million ha of tropical forest certified to FSC standards. This reaffirms FSC as the only international forest management standard proven to work effectively around the world – including the tropics.

Spring FSC market recognition reaches all-time high in Europe. In Switzerland, more than half the population recognizes the FSC label. FSC conquers the paper market in Europe – turnover in FSC products increases by 50%.

July FSC Project Certification Standard approved. FSC complies with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice which attests the credibility for setting international social and environmental standards.

November FSC Plantations Policy Working Group finalizes report marking the end of the policy phase of FSC Plantations Review Process. Proposed changes to FSC Principles and Criteria will be presented to FSC General Assembly for a vote by the FSC membership.

October FSC Controlled Wood standards come into force. FSC Controlled Wood clarifies requirements for the non-certified part in FSC Mixed products and helps FSC Chain of Custody certified companies avoid unacceptable sources of wood.

January Third FSC Global Paper Forum in Frankfurt, Germany, alongside ‘Paperworld’, a major international trade fair on paper and paper products. The successful turnout is an indication of the rapid growth of the FSC paper market.

March Review of the global governance structure of the FSC network begins. Proposal will be presented to next FSC General Assembly in 2008.

April Technical Review Phase of FSC Plantations Review Process begins. Final guidelines and tools for forest and plantation managers expected to be presented at FSC General Assembly in 2008.

September Global FSC Strategy approved by the FSC Board of Directors.

October FSC created FSC Global Development to strengthen FSC markets and trademarks.

February FSC Papua New Guinea approved by FSC - first Working Group approved in Oceania.

March FSC Poland (Working Group) approved by FSC.

April More than 100 million hectares certified to FSC''s Principles and Criteria, distributed over 79 countries. Successful attendance to FSC Brazil Trade Fair 2008, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

May  FSC Senegal (Contact Person) approved by FSC.

June Fourth FSC Executive Director appointed - Mr. Andre de Freitas takes office as FSC IC Executive Director and Acting Executive Director for FSC A.C. FSC Global Paper Forum in Dusseldorf, Germany, alongside ‘Drupa08’, a major international trade fair on paper and paper products.

November Fifth FSC General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa. Some 300 FSC members attend.

December FSC Nepal (Contact Person), FSC Norway (Working Group) and FSC Honduras (Working Group) approved by FSC.

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