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Wood Quality Labels

Wood quality labelsAlthough it is recognized that the forest is Humanity's most important asset, our management of forests doesn't always acknowledge this reality.  Quality labels, more or less strict, have thus been created to responsibilize consumers.   Lets have a look at the existing labels.

In the jungle of quality labels, the buyer doesn't have an easy task when it comes to choosing !  Because of this ambiguity, marketing designations without any substance are often mingled with labels which have strict environmental conditions.  How can we thus be "responsible" consumers.

Generally speaking, there's no point in looking for a specific label for locally produced wood. However, for so-called exotic wood, only the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council ) label is viable, or so we are told.....

The FSC label, created in 1993, is indeed the strictest one.  It demands a global respect on the ecomonic, social, and environmental levels.  This fair-minded label is the strictest international certification put in place to limit the devastating effects of the destruction of coniferous and tropical forests.

Though the FSC label  is the only  one supported by international NGOs, a sign of its viability, it does have its limits.  Indeed, a wood processsing company can be in strict conformity with the FSC tracibility guidelines and at the same time sell wood which is not conform.  How is this possible ? In fact there are two different FSC certificates : one which certifies good forest management and the other which certifies tracibility at the  processsing stage.  This allows companies  to pull the wool over the customers eyes !  

Numerous other labels have been createed alongsiide the FSC in recent years.  None of these guarantees the complete respect of the forests exploited.  The PEFC is among the most serious of these.  It was ceated in Europe in 1998 and is an adaptation of the FSC label.  In France it insists on a commitment to continually improve forestry methods.  Outside Europe it condones practices which are far from being politically correct, especially in countries where there are primary coniferous or primary tropical forests.  

Another widely-known label is the IBAMA label which, despite its lack of ressources, tries to regulate and control the illegal exploitation of forests in Brazil.

In actual fact, consumers often come across products made from Indonesian teak under different appelations  which we can group under the generic term "plantation wood".  These appelations hide all sorts of practices which aren't always ecologically correct.

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