FSC certification pays, finds WWF analysis
A new WWF cost-benefit analysis of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on a cross-section of forest operators finds that tropical and small or medium producers, regardless of geography, can benefit significantly from attaining FSC certification.
The Profitability and Sustainability in Responsible Forestry: Economic impacts of FSC certification on forest operators report found that on average, the companies examined earned an extra US$1.80 for every cubic metre of FSC-certified roundwood or equivalent, over and above costs associated with certification.
The outcomes were achieved through price premiums, increased efficiency and other financial benefits. Results varied significantly by company size and geography. Tropical companies as well as small- and medium-size enterprises – regardless of geography – showed financial gains, while temperate and large producers were found to experience small losses. On average, it took the companies that were studied six years to break even on their investment in FSC.
“The results of WWF’s new report challenge the assumption that the costs of FSC certification, particularly in the tropics, are greater than the benefits,” said Rod Taylor, Director, WWF’s Global Forests Programme. “This study shows that while the investment costs of entering into an FSC certification process can be considerable, for tropical forest operators and small or medium enterprises, the investment can be good for the bottom line. This is an important finding given the crucial role of these groups in safeguarding forests for the future.”