FSC Turns 25 – It’s Time to Celebrate and Innovate!

By Kim Carstensen, Director General, FSC International

June 1992 was a month I will never forget: the Danish people voted no to the EU Maastricht Treaty, Denmark won the European football championship for the first and only time and I took part in the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Danish government delegation. A unique month!

That Earth Summit set the agenda for sustainable development for many years to come and led to several key international treaties. However, it could not reach any meaningful, binding agreement on sustainable management of the world’s forests which was a major disappointment. Tropical forests loss was top of the agenda, but governments failed to take meaningful action.

FSC did not come out of the Earth Summit. Preparation to establish FSC had started years before, but I’m sure that the disappointment strengthened the resolve to find other solutions. If governments were not willing to solve the problem, other actors needed to step up. And FSC was a clear answer to this forest loss challenge, by offering a market-driven solution.

Honestly, when I first heard about FSC in 1994 I did not believe it would gain traction. The idea was brilliant, and I could see it becoming a great tool for environmental and social NGOs. It gave them an alternative to boycotting when they campaigned against deforestation, human rights violations and other unacceptable problems. But I did not believe FSC would ever become a key driver in mainstream markets, and for many years it did not.

In the 1990s I worked for WWF in Denmark and we promoted FSC in our campaigns. But Denmark is not really a forest country, so over the years, our attention moved to other issues. I lost track of FSC a bit – I bought certified products when I could but did not do much more. It was only when I applied for the FSC Director General position in 2012 that I began to look at it again.

And imagine my surprise! In the meantime, FSC had become a major force for good with a very important membership, 150 million hectares of forests certified across the world. I found products bearing FSC labels on almost every shelf in shops.

Since 2012, FSC has kept growing. We have become the world’s most trusted sustainable forest management solution. Our 25th anniversary provides an excellent opportunity to look back with pride at what we have achieved and to look forward with excitement at the next challenges we need to meet.

read more/source: https://fsc.org/en/news/fsc-turns-25-its-time-celebrate-and-innovate

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