Forest Certification: RAN’s Perspective

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) believes that it is not only possible to manage humanity’s forest use in a way that is both equitable and responsible maintaining cultural diversity, ecological integrity, the climate and environmental services it is absolutely necessary for the health and survival of the planet. Consistent with these values,

  • RAN opposes industrial logging in old growth, primary rainforests and intact forest landscapes;
  • RAN opposes the conversion of natural forests to plantations or other uses;
  • RAN calls for the rights of Indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities to be respected and upheld;
  • RAN recognizes that in order to prevent dangerous climate change, forest carbon stocks must be maintained and enhanced in addition to deep fossil fuel emission reductions;
  • And, RAN lobbies corporations, governments and forest certification systems for policies that are consistent with these positions.

Global demand for cheap wood and paper products is one of the largest drivers of forest destruction worldwide. Forest certification and labeling is intended to inform consumers if their purchases of wood or paper products are derived from well-managed forests, and to improve transparency, accountability and performance within the poorly controlled $500 billion global forest products industry.

Not all certification systems are created equally. The majority are industry and/or government sponsored and controlled, including the U.S. Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the global Program for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC), and have weak standards and procedures and skewed governance that certify “business-as-usual” forestry. Only one, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), has balanced voting between environmental, social and economic members, which in turn has led to a stronger certification system. While not perfect, the FSC is widely recognized as the leading and most credible forest certification and labeling system in the marketplace. 

For more information on RAN’s position on the FSC please visit:

For Author/Activist Naomi Klein’s position on the FSC please visit:

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