All over the world, construction activities are responsible for emitting large volumes of carbon into the atmosphere. However, by using wood as the primary construction material, buildings can instead make a positive environmental impact. And when the wood is FSC-certified, developers and consultants are able to document that it comes from responsibly managed forests.
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international, non-profit labelling and certification system for wood and paper. The scheme enjoys widespread support among green organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), among other things because the FSC attaches equal importance to social, environmental and economic interests.
“Our standards at a global level are based on the same overarching principles and criteria, which makes the scheme transparent, irrespective of country. In all, FSC covers more than 200 indicators, which are interpreted nationally to ensure the greatest possible value in each country,” explains Loa Dalgaard Worm, Director of Strategy and Business Development at the FSC in Denmark, where Troldtekt is FSC-certified.
Certified forests gaining ground
FSC-certified products contribute positively to the certification of sustainable buildings, for example under the popular schemes DGNB, LEED and BREEAM. It is therefore only natural that FSC-certified forests are gaining ground in step with the growing focus on sustainability in the construction sector.
Some facts from FSC International:
- Worldwide, there are approx. 195 million hectares of FSC-certified forests in 84 countries. This area is now 30 per cent larger than it was just seven years ago.
- In all, 50 per cent of the world’s FSC forests are located in Europe and Russia, while 34 per cent are found in North America.
- Sweden is the north European country with the most FSC-certified forests – covering a total of 13.4 million hectares.
According to Loa Dalgaard Worm, developers, architects and consultants can contribute to further promoting the use of wood from responsibly managed forests in construction. She is calling on them to choose wood products based on their functionality, as a way of ensuring an adequate supply of certified wood, also globally:
“In general, we find that people know very little about the properties of the different wood species, which has led to a lot of demand for a limited number of species, which are now under considerable pressure. Why not look for woods with similar properties among the other 60,000 tree species in the world?”
“Generally speaking, wood has many outstanding properties, which can also contribute positively to achieving several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By using wood for a building’s load-bearing structure rather than brick, you can easily reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent, and often far more – providing, of course, that the wood comes from sustainable forestry operations,” says Loa Dalgaard Worm.