An internationally recognized product labelling system designed to assure consumers that they are buying sustainably-sourced forest products is falling short of some of its intended objectives, according to new research. Since 1994, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification framework of agreed indicators has encouraged companies to adhere to sustainable forest management practices, which are also aimed at simultaneously increasing financial profitability. Companies follow guidelines to extract timber responsibly, reduce impact on forest ecosystems and help reduce land and soil degradation. One of the most widely accepted standards aimed at assessing long term sustainable forest management worldwide,FSC certification is also designed to protect the rights of workers and indigenous people. However, a study undertaken in Brazil by scientists with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, published in the journal of Forest Policy and Economics determined that a lack of transparency and unclear reporting indicators restrict the reliability of the program.
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