Forestry Stewardship Council® and the Arts

A factsheet to demystify the Forest Stewardship Council® and to encourage the arts and culture to use ethical, FSC certified wood, card and paper.

Image ©FSC IC. There are a huge variety of materials that can be FSC certified.

In the UK we use around 10 million tonnes of wood and wood products each year, and we create wood waste of 4.1 million tonnes. Wood is a brilliant material for the arts, providing material for painting and sculpture, and structure for set design. Paper and card are used for everything from the artwork itself to the programme and even tickets to the exhibition or show. However, wood and wood products can negatively impact the environment if they are not sourced responsibly.

This factsheet has been compiled to demystify the main points of confusion around the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and encourage everyone working in the arts and culture to use FSC certified wood, card and paper.

Download the PDF or read on for the web version. 

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What is FSC?

FSC enables you to demonstrate, through independent certification, that the wood and paper products you sell or use come from well-managed sources and exclude the risk of using illegally logged timber or funding conflict. It also gives options for maximising the use of recycled wood and paper. FSC provides global standards for forest management which balance environmental, social and economic aspects.

The FSC system also provides a way of tracking forest products through independently verified Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. This has to cover every stage in processing, conversion, distribution and printing before the final product can carry the FSC label. If the chain is broken, no claims can be made.

The well-being of forest communities and ecosystems is just as important as replacing trees in ensuring the future of the world’s forests. 

What Do the FSC Labels Mean?

There are three different FSC labels that certified products such as wood and paper can carry:


  • FSC 100% - The product is made of virgin timber or fibre that comes from FSC certified forests.
  • FSC Mix - The product may contain a mix of 100% virgin fibre, recycled material, or other wood that has been risk assessed as not deriving from undesirable sources. 
  • FSC Recycled - verified reclaimed materials (at least 85% must be post-consumer reclaimed e.g. from kerb-side collections)

Using an FSC Certified Printer

Printed materials can only carry an FSC label if they are produced and labelled under a valid FSC chain of custody certificate. This certificate is usually held by the printer.

You can verify whether a printer holds FSC certification using the FSC international certificate database at

To ensure your printed materials carry an FSC label you should:

  • Use an FSC certified printer
  • Specify FSC certified materials and request that the printer apply the appropriate FSC label
  • Ensure any supplementary text about FSC is approved by the printer’s FSC accredited certification body.

Using FSC Certified Wood

  • FSC certified wood is widely available in the UK from many DIY outlets or directly from sawmills themselves. You can check who is certified on our online database or by contacting FSC UK.
  • Ensure you specify that you want FSC certified wood whenever you make an order, and make sure the supplier is certified. 
  • Ensure your invoice states that the materials you have purchased are FSC certified and includes the supplier’s FSC certificate number. 

Use Project Certification For Your Set

  • Project certification is granted when a build includes more than 50% FSC certified material, but some contractors have achieved 100%
  • Projects are assessed individually by a third party Certification Body. Contact a Certification Body (or get quotes from a few) before the project starts.

Did you know that construction projects, including TV and theatre sets and major refurbishments can receive FSC project certification? The world’s first FSC certification of a set for a TV show was awarded in 2012 to Señor Brazil, a Brazilian Music Show.


Do I have to hold FSC certification to publish FSC labelled brochures and programmes?

No, but your printer must be FSC certified and must source the paper/board on your behalf.

Can I use the FSC trademarks on my website or in a catalogue to make sustainability claims?

Yes, as long as you hold either FSC certification or a trademark licence. Contact FSC UK for further details.

Can I change the logo in any way?

No, there are a few different colour variations available, but you cannot modify the logo yourself.

How long does a project certificate last?

A project certificate will list the year of issue, and will last indefinitely.

How can I make sure suppliers to my project are FSC certified?

Before you start the project, we suggest you contact with a Certification Body, who will be able to advise you during the process. A list of certified suppliers can also be found here.

How do I find out more about FSC?

We have a lot of information on our website including case studies (showing how FSC benefits the world’s forests) and news stories.

Questions and Information

Contact FSC UK at or on 01686 413916 if you have any questions. Also, do let us know about your FSC sourcing successes or to get help finding certified products and suppliers.

This factsheet has been developed by FSC UK in partnership with Julie’s Bicycle. Download the PDF version.

Sustaining Creativity