8 min read

The Guide to FSC Certification

What is FSC Certification?

Image source:

Studio Marlowe

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


November 8, 2022


Studio Marlowe

Our free newsletter delivers curated home decor and furniture comparisons and alternatives, expert design advice and more

Subscribe to our newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What Is FSC Certified?

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council.

Established in 1993, this international organization is dedicated to promoting responsible forestry management around the world.

In order to become FSC certified, a company must meet certain standards related to the ecology, social and economic aspects of forestry.

These standards are based on principles such as protecting water resources, conserving biodiversity, supporting indigenous rights and encouraging forest regeneration.

Products with FSC chain-of-custody certification have been tracked from their origin in the forest to their final destination as a product or material.

This guarantees that the materials used were harvested responsibly and sustainably, which is essential for environmentally conscious design projects.

Benefits of Choosing FSC Certified Products

When you choose products with FSC certification, you can rest assured knowing that they come from responsibly managed forests that meet stringent environmental and social standards.

Furthermore, FSC certified products also typically have higher quality than non-certified options since these forests are better managed and produce healthier trees.

Additionally, choosing products with FSC certification supports sustainable practices which helps minimize deforestation and other negative impacts on our planet’s natural resources.

Which Retailers have FSC certified products?

A number of major furniture retailers have earned FSC Certification, including Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, Ikea, Restoration Hardware, and more.

In addition to these large retailers, many smaller businesses also have earned FSC Certification.

Below is a list of furniture retailers that have FSC certified furniture:

Crate & Barrel


West Elm

Restoration Hardware

Pottery Barn

How Can a Furniture Company Become Certified?

The first step for any furniture company looking to become FSC certified is to ensure they are meeting all of the requirements set out in the FSC standards.

Companies must then hire an external auditor to assess their operations and verify that they are compliant with the standards.

Once the auditor has completed their assessment, they will submit a report to the FSC who will then decide whether or not to certify the company as being compliant with their standards.

The entire process can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on the complexity of the operations being assessed.

The final step in becoming FSC certified is for the company to make sure that all of its products are labeled appropriately with either full-chain or chain-of-custody certification labels as appropriate.

This allows customers to identify which products are sustainably sourced directly from certified forests or suppliers who have undergone audit verification themselves by an independent third party.

How long does FSC Certification last?

FSC Certification lasts for five years, after which the certified organization or forest owner must undergo a new certification audit to maintain their certification status.

During this re-certification process, the organization must demonstrate that they continue to meet the FSC's standards for responsible forest management or responsible chain of custody.

The FSC also requires annual surveillance audits to ensure that the certified organization is maintaining its compliance with the FSC standards throughout the five-year certification period.

In conclusion, FSC certification is a globally recognized standard for promoting responsible and sustainable forestry management.

It guarantees that the products with FSC certification have been responsibly harvested and produced, ensuring that the environment, communities, and workers have been taken into consideration.

FSC certified products not only provide environmental benefits but also have higher quality, making them a wise choice for environmentally conscious design projects.

Major furniture retailers such as Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Ikea, along with many smaller businesses, have earned FSC certification.

Becoming FSC certified involves meeting the FSC standards, hiring an external auditor, and obtaining the appropriate labeling.

Scroll back to top ↑

No items found.
Contributor / Co-Founder
Christi Farrell
Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.
Subscribe to our newsletter for updates!

More from Studio Marlowe