The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an organisation which ensures that forests around the globe are well managed and sustainable.
A well run forest in Africa, like the Precious Woods site in Gabon, will provide wood which goes to make hundreds of products, from paper to toilet roll to furniture and even clothing, all bought by consumers in the UK.
But it can be difficult to be confident that the paper and forest products we are buying have come from a place where workers are treated fairly and that is sustainably managed.
This is where the FSC’s certification and label scheme comes in. Looking for the bright green FSC tick logo on any kind of paper product you buy means that it has come from a business which has met tough standards including forest management, helping local communities and gender equality.
And for workers like Eudoxie, 35, that’s particularly important. Mum-of-two Eudoxie works in the timber workshop at Precious Wood, in Gabon. She moved her family from a crowded city to the rainforest three years ago after learning how working for a firm with FSC certification guarantees her comfortable housing, free day care and access to a local school for her children.
Eudoxie said: “I used to live in the city but I’m very happy I took this opportunity to come work in the forest instead.
“Our housing is in a very good condition. We have clean water and I really like my job. The school and healthcare are important benefits too.”
The guidelines also make sure that women are treated equally to men in their workplace, and an FSC certificate requires equality in employment, training, awarding of contracts and equal pay for equal work.
Eudoxie added: “We African women are strong. We adapt to our situations and we have a lot to say. At my job I have as much to say as the men, and we like to joke and have fun too.”
Precious Woods are proud of their FSC certification and their ethos of treating workers fairly.
David Zakamdi the certification manager at Precious Woods explained: "Many FSC forest certification requirements put the emphasis on social values.
“FSC expects their certificate holders to do the utmost in that field, therefore we are encouraged to go the extra mile to ensure our workers and their families receive the benefits they deserve.”
The FSC wants to encourage everyone to look for their green tick logo on any forestry products they buy in order to help the organisation continue to protect the environment, support vulnerable communities and reach even more people in the future.
For more information see fsc-uk.org.
Original Article by Jenna Sloan
Photo by FSC International