So we’ve got a question—ever walk into a store and notice an ‘FSC-Certified’ stamp on paper packaging? If you haven’t, allow us to jog your memory! This distinguishable stamp features a combination of a check mark and a Christmas tree with the words ‘FSC’ written in caps directly underneath it (see picture above). Sound familiar now?
But what exactly is FSC-certified paper, and how is it different from your everyday paper? You might say it’s one of the top two most environmentally-friendly papers available around the world, vying for the top spot with recycled paper itself. Read on as we go further into the origins of FSC paper and get an insight into how we, as a beauty brand, utilize it for our products!
Environmental Impacts of Deforestation
Do you know that 420 million tons of paper and cardboard are produced annually? That’s equivalent to everyone on Earth using two pieces of paper per hour (we did the math)! Coupled with the fact that it takes 10 liters of water to produce just one sheet of A4 paper, you can only imagine how detrimental paper production and waste are to our environment. Hint, it's not good.
With forests making up about 30% of the world and 24 million hectares of trees already cut down or burned this year for logging (a fancy term for wood and paper production), farming, and mining practices, it makes you wonder how the act of deforestation has become commonplace amongst society. Seriously though, how are we letting this happen?
Currently, the two main consequences of deforestation are climate change and the impact of such practices on animals. To put things into perspective, the devastation of climate change is already up and coming. The more carbon dioxide we exhale, the more heat-trapping greenhouse gases we emit (global warming says hello).
Plus, it’s also no secret that animals depend on their habitat to survive. 80% of all land animals populate our forests in total, and that’s a hefty figure! The removal of trees forcefully eliminates birds and land animals from solitude, deprives the forest of its canopy, and creates harmful temperature mood swings for plants and animals. All just to make paper for us!
What is FSC?
Short for Forest Stewardship Council, FSC is the pioneer of forest certification. In their own words (and get ready for this because they do a whole lot), they’re an “independent, not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization” that “supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.” Pretty impressive, right?
Think of them as the defenders of forests, if you will! Ever since the unfortunate rise of deforestation and forest degradation, FSC has stepped in to prevent more of our forestry from being harmed for the sake of our material possessions.
At large, FSC sets the standard for forest products, certifies brands that fit this merit, and ensures that such criteria are continued to be met past-certification (no one’s off the hook!).
Source: Scanlux Packaging
With FSC comes the conception of green printing and FSC-certified paper; paper harvested in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Rest assured, you’re supporting a sustainable manufacturing process with FSC's 4-step 'chain of custody'. It’s that credible!
It has also garnered itself a positive reputation amongst demographics. Don’t believe us? 50% of the UK recognizes its iconic stamp, with 72% of its demographic being very or fairly likely to buy FSC-certified products over others.
Now you must be wondering, how does FSC paper create a positive impact on the environment? Realistically speaking, humans rely on paper a lot. To give you a ballpark figure, the U.S. consumes 100 million tons of paper annually. That’s why FSC paper is so significant in reducing paper waste and forest degradation, purely by dealing with the demand in a sustainable manner.
FSC Certification Standards
With 5,000 FSC certificate holders out there using FSC paper for the packaging of their goods, it begs the question; how can you tell the different levels of FSC certification standards apart? To put it simply, their labels.
There are three types of FSC certification labels—FSC 100%, FSC Recycled, and FSC Mix. It says it all in their names; FSC 100% refers to products made of wood that originated from FSC-managed forests, FSC recycled to goods made from reclaimed materials, and FSC mix to merchandise made from FSC-certified forests, recycled materials, or controlled wood.
As consumers ourselves, we’re naturally curious about what goes into the products we purchase. We’re sure you are too, which is where the three FSC labels come in handy. You’ll know exactly what your favorite products consist of and just how sustainable they are.
FSC Paper vs. Recycled Paper
Envelopes, packaging, furniture—you name it; these materials can all be classified as FSC-certified. FSC paper, specifically, can be a great alternative to your typical rough, recycled paper.
Contrary to popular belief, FSC paper is not as expensive as you’d think. It's even comparable in price with other forms of paper that may not have been sourced via unsustainable forests! We also tend to have a common misconception that recycled paper is 100% sustainable, which is simply not true.
Don’t get us wrong. Both FSC and recycled paper are eco-friendly, but only FSC paper recycles continuously over and over again. Recycled paper (shredded paper, newspapers, etc.) automatically rules out as paper fiber only breaks down several times before it completely degrades.
On the other hand, FSC paper composes of virgin tree fibers from FSC-certified well-managed forests. What's best? You can trust that you're actively helping to save the forests for generations to come with FSC's strict set of standards and credibility.
Additionally, the intricate process of recycling has more environmental implications than you’d typically expect. Do you know just how much recycled material actually goes into recycled paper? If your answer is no, it’s best to check the post-consumer waste paper percentage before buying your next stack.
IRÉN Skin’s Commitment to Conscious Beauty
Since 2015, more and more retailers have gotten FSC-approved, with the number of partners growing on average by 18% every year. To break it down demographically, partners of FSC are 77% European, 15% Asian Pacific (us included!), and 4% North American.
At IRÉN Skin, we try our best to make a conscious effort to be sustainable in our practices and products, using FSC paper to make up our exterior packaging.
Reducing our carbon footprint remains one of our top priorities here. Besides investing in FSC-certified packaging, we also source and work with local suppliers—shipping our products to Singapore and other parts of the world for final assembly and filling before sending them out to you.
Conscious beauty means a whole lot to us, and we promise to continue making an effort to become more sustainable in our practices. And together, we can take mini-steps (like refusing a printed receipt at a store, for example) into ensuring a more sustainable lifestyle in the coming years.