Like every year, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Italy, an NGO that promotes responsible forest management, publishes a Report with the main data and trends recorded in the year just ended. The 2020 data show that there is a growing demand in Italy to certify the forestry products we use in our daily lives according to environmental sustainability criteria, confirming the positive trend of sustainability and certification in our country.
FSC Italy records, for the second consecutive year, an increase of 10% of companies with active certificates of the so-called “Chain of Custody“ (CoC): at the end of 2020 there were 2,831, with over 3,500 production sites involved. “We are recording an increase in the demand for materials and products of sustainable origin: companies are asking for it, as they want to demonstrate their commitment to transparent supply chains; citizens want it, as they are increasingly willing to reward virtuous realities from a social and environmental point of view“ says Diego Florian, Director of FSC Italy.
FSC certification in Italy: the 2020 report
The year 2020, which will certainly be remembered as the year of COVID-19, has brought about profound changes to our habits and systems of production and consumption. The demand for greater sustainability and responsibility has changed and indeed strengthened. Awareness of the decisive role that degraded ecosystems can play in the birth and spread of highly transmissible pathogens has led to a growing desire on the part of citizens and businesses to contribute even more to the conservation of the world's forests and natural habitats, through the use of raw materials of sustainable origin.
An increasingly sustainable supply chain
Although the largest numbers are once again registered in sectors such as printed paper and packaging, the strongest growth trends are in wood-furniture and textiles. In fact, 70 new certificates were issued in 2020 (+13.6%) in the furniture sector, for a total of 585 active certificates, of which 485 relate to companies active in the production of furniture and accessories for interiors and 100 to the outdoor sector. There were 34 new certificates (+57.6%) in the yarn and fabric sector (rayon, viscose, modal, cellulose acetate and lyocell), for a total of 93 active certificates.
This growth in FSC-certified products has also been reflected in companies' willingness to communicate and promote their commitment to environmental sustainability.
Doing, doing well and, above all, making it known: this is the motivation that drives more and more companies to promote their commitment through the promotional use of the FSC trademark: in 2020, 87 companies used the licence for promotional purposes of the FSC trademarks through the Promotional License Agreement (PLA), with 16 new contracts signed and a 25% increase in value compared to the previous year.
Forests are also increasing
As far as forests are concerned, there are 68,486 hectares of FSC-certified forest in our country, divided into 19 active certificates: a figure that is slightly up on 2019 (+3.21%). “We are a forestry country,“ explains Florian, “where there is still a lack of contact points between forests, society and the national wood, paper and derivatives industry. Fortunately, the number of companies deciding to verify and remunerate the positive impacts of their forest management on natural services, the so-called ecosystem services, is increasing: a factor that can act as a driving force for a new, more aware green economy and to enhance the work and presence of forest managers in the territory“.
In 2020, three new organisations in Italy (Unione dei Comuni Valdarno e Valdisieve, Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme and Agris Sardegna) decided to quantify the natural services offered by forests, such as carbon dioxide stock, water, soil and biodiversity conservation, and the improvement of the tourist-recreational and cultural offer, making them available to investors and sponsors interested in financially supporting those who work to maintain them.
Responsible forest management in Europe and the world
Internationally, there are 221,201,420 hectares of FSC-certified forests worldwide (+10% last year) in more than 80 countries. Among the fastest growing areas in Europe are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Russia, while on the African continent the trends in the Republic of Congo and Namibia are significant, and China and Turkey in Asia. Forest management certificates reached 1,739 (+4.2% globally and +9.6% in Europe).
Worldwide, the number of certified companies operating in 130 countries increased by 10.9% (total 44,751, in Europe the increase is 8.8%). In this context, it is important to note that Italy still holds the European record for the number of active certificates and is the second country worldwide.