Certifications that promote responsibly sourced wood

Wood is perhaps the most versatile and environmentally friendly material for design and construction, due to its renewable nature, life cycle, carbon offsetting qualities and insulation. It has been documented that spaces created in wood provide mental and physical benefits to people living and/or working in them.

In the past, use of some wood has assumed a reputation for being harmful to the environment due to illegal logging and resultant deforestation associated with it. Many governments have taken steps to eliminate logging to protect their forests leading to a very tight supply of tropical wood. Consequently, wood that is available can be expensive and lack in consistency and quality.

India is a huge consumer of wood. Most of the forests in India and popular tropical wood producing countries in the region are protected and no longer provide a reliable source of good quality wood. Therefore, India needs to rely on imports of certified wood to satisfy the growing demand among Indian consumers.

Regions like British Columbia (B.C.) in Canada, a leader in sustainable forest management practices, are responsible sources of solid wood perfect for the Indian market.

Wood is the only building material with third-party certification systems in place to verify that products have come from a sustainably managed and legally harvested resource. B.C. is one of the largest exporters of sawn wood products in the world and a global leader in sustainable forest management.

Global certifications

Certification is a market-based, non-regulatory forest conservation tool designed to recognize and promote environmentally responsible forestry and sustainability of forest resources.

Currently there are more than 50 forest certification standards worldwide, reflecting the diversity of forest types, ecosystems and tenures. Most promote sustainable forest management through principles, criteria and objectives consistent with local government processes.

Two independent non-profit global programs endorse forest certification programs developed nationally and regionally in countries around the world i.e. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

Certifications in B.C., Canada

The three programs used in B.C. – CSA, FSC and SFI – all promote principles, criteria and objectives that are viewed around the world as the basis of sustainable forest management. Each has balanced governance, with boards representing environmental, social and economic interests and all revise their standards regularly through an open public process.

CSA, FSC and SFI evaluate for basic forest stewardship by ensuring that harvested areas are reforested, laws are obeyed and that there is no unauthorized or illegal logging. Similar to B.C.s’ regulatory regime, they all ensure biological diversity is conserved, timber is harvested sustainably and wildlife habitat, soils and water resources are conserved.

Many B.C. forest companies also have their manufacturing facilities and/or forest management certified to the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization CAN/CSA-ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) standard. While not a forestry-specific standard, ISO provides a framework that a company can use to measure and improve its environmental performance.

Independent forest management certifications


B.C. has more third-party forest certification than any other jurisdiction except for Canada as a whole, providing added assurance of sustainable forest management.

The three certifications evaluate the following all-encompassing aspects of sustainable forest management

  • Conserve biological diversity and protect species at risk
  • Protect and maintain special sites (biological and cultural)
  • Limit the use of chemicals
  • Prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms
  • Maintain soil and water resources
  • Ensure harvest levels are sustainable
  • No wood from illegal or controversial sources
  • Reforest harvested areas and protect forest lands from conversion
  • Aboriginal and public input
  • Recognition of aboriginal rights
  • Require public disclosure
  • Require third-party audit
  • Chain-of-custody optional certification

(For more detailed information please contact FII India at info@canadianwood.in)

Labels to watch out for

Importance of certified wood from BC for Indian manufacturers

Savvy consumers in India and around the world demand that companies demonstrate high levels of concern for the environment while producing products. Countries in North America, the European Union and other developed markets are extremely stringent about the sustainability and legality of wood used in the products they procure. This is where manufacturers can really benefit from sustainable forest products from B.C. as they pass the most stringent standards in environment management.

While buying wood from sustainably managed sources, look for the PEFC, FSC and SFI certification labels and be assured of their compliance with environmental standards.

FII India, funded by the government of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada represents Canadian wood in India for all its five species viz. Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Yellow Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF). FII works closely with architects, manufacturers, importers and real estate developers to provide technical and procurement assistance for their requirements free of any cost.

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