One of the most popular sustainable materials used in patio furniture is FSC-teak. It’s known for its durability and beauty and is ethically sourced from the forest to your home. But what exactly is FSC-certified teak, and why should you choose it over other materials?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about this material and if it really has a positive effect on the environment when you choose it for your own home.
What is FSC-certified wood?
FSC-certified wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This NGO organization was founded in 1993 and is a major player in the sustainable forestry industry. The FSC sets standards that ensure forests are managed responsibly, and that wood is sourced ethically.
When a forest is FSC-certified, this includes protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and water resources. When a consumer purchases FSC-certified wood, it ensures that the produce came from responsibly managed forests.
When purchasing FSC-certified wood, you can rest assured that the organization has ensured the following:
The tree used for lumber is replaced, or the area allows for regeneration
Indigenous peoples’ rights are respected, and they are able to access the forests for their own livelihood
Wildlife habitats are protected by maintaining a portion of the forest
The local community safely and legally manages the logging process
The wood can be traced from its origin to the final destination
Teak wood is a particularly popular lumber used in outdoor furniture because it is incredibly durable and has a natural resistance to rot, insects, and extreme weather conditions. It’s also a very beautiful wood, with a rich golden hue that will age gracefully over time.
Unfortunately, teak wood is also one of the most commonly illegally sourced woods on the market. This makes it even more important to have a certification like the FSC when you purchase teak furniture.
When you buy certified sustainable patio furniture made with FSC-teak, you can be confident that you’re minimizing the impact on the environment and supporting legal forest management practices.
Who is the Forest Stewardship Council?
The Forest Stewardship Council grew out of a need for a regulatory system to manage the forestry industry in a sustainable way.
A small group of volunteers felt the need to respond to the UN Earth Summit that was held in Brazil in 1992. In the heart of the most endangered rainforest in the world, the summit ignored the need for sustainable management practices to prevent deforestation.
They gathered in Toronto, Canada in 1993 to devise a way to use the timber market as a way to incentivize businesses and consumers alike to support sustainable forestry practices.
The FSC is now an international network with over 30,000 members in 80 countries. They have certified over 469 million acres of forestland in every continent except Antarctica.
To get an FSC certification, a forest must go through a rigorous assessment process by an independent third party to ensure that they meet the ten principles set out by the FSC.
The Forest Management Certification is for those working directly in the natural spaces, while the Chain-of-Custody Certification is for any company that owns, transports, or processes FSC-certified products.
Is FSC-certified teak good quality outdoor furniture?
Absolutely! FSC-certified furniture made of teak wood is considered some of the best patio furniture available because of its natural weather resistance and high durability because of its high density and natural oil content.
Despite being a dense hardwood and one of the most durable, this hardwood can easily be worked to make many stylish pieces of outdoor furniture. So whether you want a coffee table or a full patio set, it will last a lifetime if properly cared for.
The FSC certification guarantees that the wood is of a high level of quality in addition to being sourced from a responsibly managed forest.
This means that you can be confident that the producer isn’t fraudulently claiming their products are made out of solid teak wood when they’re not, or using unsuitable pieces of teak wood.
Is FSC-teak more expensive?
In general, teak products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council are between 15% to 30% more expensive than products that are not certified.
The extra cost is due to ensuring that the wood is sourced correctly and that the local community is paid a fair wage for sourcing these wood products.
However, this has been shown to be profitable for many of the companies that have switched to FSC-certified practices.
Customers also benefit from the extra cost as they can be sure they’re getting a product made of high-quality, durable teak wood that will last for many years, saving them money in the long run.
Increased awareness and popularity of sustainable teak products also lead to a decrease in cost as more companies switch to FSC-certified practices. Some major retailers that have endorsed this organization include Crate and Barrel, Office Depot, and Wayfair LLC.
Is buying FSC wood worth it?
Buying furniture that is made of FSC-certified wood helps prevent deforestation. This means that there are fewer trees being cut down to make furniture and that the wood is being regenerated through sustainable forest management.
Additionally, these are generally higher-quality woods, so you should see extended lifespans from outdoor furniture made from this wood. Teak wood can last outdoors in sun and rain for future generations to enjoy, which makes it an heirloom if you take care of it in your backyard.
This can lead to savings over time as well as the knowledge that your purchase contributed to more sustainable forestry practices.
Where can you find FSC-certified Teak patio furniture?
There are plenty of stores that offer furniture chairs, tables, and additional products for your backyard with FSC-Certified teak. Some examples include Outer, Neighbor, Crate and Barrel, Westminster Teak, and Pottery Barn. You can create the style you want by choosing a shop listed above that offers the perfect furniture for your home.
When you’re searching for patio furniture, be sure to check if the teak is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council on their website or give them a call or quick email to learn more. This will give you the peace of mind that your purchase is contributing to sustainable forestry practices and that you’re getting a high-quality product.
Are there other FSC-certified woods for outdoor furniture?
Yes, FSC-certified eucalyptus and acacia are popular options that you will find from various retailers that are harvested with environmental and social responsibility in mind.
Eucalyptus is a great option because it is hard and dense like teak, but is less expensive. It is also a beautiful wood that will add style to your backyard.
Acacia is another more affordable option that is just as strong and durable as teak. It has a unique grain pattern that makes it stand out from other woods, which can add character to your outdoor space.
These woods are also rot-resistant and durable, making them ideal for outdoor furniture that will be exposed to the elements. They’re usually a bit cheaper than FSC teak as well, so if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, these could be the woods for you.
Are there other sustainability certifications for wood?
Fortunately, many other organizations have developed programs to ensure that the wood products we buy are sourced sustainably and responsibly. Some of the major organizations include:
Sustainable Forestry Initiative: This organization covers over 364 million acres of forests and offers three certifications.
American Tree Farm System: They manage 19 million acres of forest and have a network of 70,000 farmers under their certification.
Program For the Endorsement of Forest Certification: This Switzerland-based program covers 800 million acres of land and caters to smaller businesses and community-owned initiatives.
Canadian Standards Association Sustainable Forest Management: This program manages 98 million acres of Canadian land and focuses on cultural and biological diversity in its core values.
Each of these organizations has different standards for what they consider to be sustainable forestry practices. However, they all work to ensure that the wood products we buy are sourced from well-managed forests that will last for generations to come.
When we spend money at a store that offers FSC-certified teak furniture, we’re suppoorting more sustainable forestry practices. These brands are also ensuring that the wood they’re using is of high quality and will last for many years.
This can both save you money and help you to feel good about your purchase. So, next time you’re in the market for some new patio furniture, be sure to look for the FSC certification!