The power of knowledge

We aim to report comprehensively on the economic, social and environmental benefits and impacts of FSC. We strive to be a leading provider of actionable information, giving internal and external users the power to inform insight-driven decision making and communications.

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Becoming an improved data and digital-driven organization

The central part of our strategic plan is to introduce digital technologies into the FSC system to improve the integrity of the system, while lowering costs of certification. 

To do this, we need to be digitally innovative.

Our efforts in 2018 focused on building the relationships, infrastructure, capacity and culture to become insight-driven and support decision making and communications.

You can join us on our LinkedIn group, called FSC Digital Innovations, to keep up to date with our ongoing work in this area.

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Transforming our monitoring and evaluation programme to become data-driven

For FSC to remain relevant and ensure that we deliver on our promise to safeguard the forests of the world, we must be able to analyze our impact and our areas for improvement. Only then can we become truly digitally data-driven and unleash the power of our knowledge. 

To realize this aim, we transformed our monitoring and evaluations programme, and reframed its focus. The new programme, called Data Analytics, Evaluation and Learning, ensures FSC has an analytics-capable and holistic framework to focus on outcomes that inform the shaping of FSC. The programme is centered on data and its quality, which complements and supports the qualitative results of research reviews.

Information and data standard for sustainability

To enable FSC and our stakeholders to become data-driven, we must first and foremost ensure that our information systems can speak to each other and that our data is understandable to the outside world.

FSC faces an issue here, which is similar to many other certification schemes: our data setups weren’t initially built to speak to each other or the outside world.

We are working to solve this problem by building a new information and data standard for sustainability. 


FSC and ISEAL are therefore leading up a joint project funded by the ISEAL Innovation Fund to develop an information and data standard for sustainability. In 2018, we started work on stakeholder engagement to support the project.

Understanding our positive impacts

A number of studies were released in 2018 that showed the value of FSC certification. Among these were:

• A literature review on the conservation impacts of FSC certification among other voluntary sustainability standards

• A literature review on the environmental impacts of FSC certification in the boreal, temperate and tropical biomes

• A study using models to compare carbon and biodiversity outcomes among different timber production systems, including FSC-certified reduced-impact logging

• A study evaluating the causal effect of FSC certification on tree cover loss in tropical forest landscapes

• A study on the impacts of FSC certification on deforestation, and on the benefits to local communities and stakeholders dialogue in Chilean forestry businesses

• A study on investments on social services and infrastructures resulting from FSC certification of forest plantations in Tanzania

As well as looking at the positive impacts, we also analyze other impacts of the FSC system, and take actions where necessary.