The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international organisation that acts as a mediator between different bodies involved in the worlds forest resources, and promotes the environmentally appropriate use of these forests.
Much of the timber furniture imported into Australia is manufactured from timber harvested in the forests of Indonesia. The increase of furniture production in this region has resulted in the increased need for timber. As of July 2013 the FSC certified area of Indonesia forest includes 1,679,117 hectares. This area has increased in the past few years, and recent trends indicate that there will continue to be increase in furniture production on this area of the world. The increase in are if FSC certified forest is a positive for environmentalists, as this forest is then harvested using the recognised standards of the FSC, as opposed to the other manufacturing standards in the local region.
But not all environmentalists are happy with the progress of the FSC with Greenpeace publicly condemning the growth of the FSC, and highlighting areas where the organisation is lacking. Greenpeace's Judy Rodriques states “as the system has grown, the FSC's implementation and interpretation of its standards have been watered down.” To highlight the perceived flaws in the system Greenpeace has released a report identifying case studies where the FSC implemented policies are lacking in conserving the worlds forests. As a member of the FSC, Greenpeace is not actively campaigning against the FSC, but instead calling for consistency among the organisation.
The FSC was established following the Rio Earth Summit in 1993, with the Australian branch joining in 2001. As the organisation has expanded to have a presence in some 79 countries over the world, the organisation has expanded it oversight of forests to over 180,000,00 hectares. The FSC is just one of many forest certification organisations across the world, but it is identified mainly as the most environmentally friendly organisation. The organisation has the backing from many environmental programs and organisations, and currently includes the support from over 800 environmental groups. The FSC logo has become identifiable in the public in Australia, and is now considered a useful marketing tool.
Many Australian furniture retailers are increasingly selling FSC certified furniture as the demand for furniture increases in the Australian market. Australian consumers are not only demanding furniture that looks great and is durable, but that does not detrimentally affect the environment. FliP Home is a retailer of industrial furniture and FSC certified outdoor furniture on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. As the Australian public become more aware of the logging methods that are used to harvest the majority of timber used in furniture production, they are becoming increasingly demanding for timber harvested in sustainable methods. FliP Home is satisfying this demand, as well as many other furniture retailer, by advertising their recycled teak furniture with the FSC certified logo. FliP Home is now making FSC certified industrial furniture even more accessible to the Australian public with their online store. All of the ranges of homewares, industrial furniture and outdoor furniture are now able to be purchased using the FliP Home online store, with discounted postage available. As the worlds declining forests become even more valuable, organisations like FSC that care for these most precious habitats need to increase their scope and implement consistent standards that balance the essential production of timber, with the sustainable care of the forests.