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February 16, 2019

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Happy 25th Anniversary, FSC!


A contribution from the Forest Stewardship Council, International Communications Team

Did you know that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is headquartered in Bonn? You have probably spotted the organization's famous "checkmark and tree" eco-label on your milk packaging or the back of your Deutsche Bahn ticket - but you may not know what it means. The international not-for-profit organization sets the standards to certify responsibly managed forests. When you buy a product bearing the FSC logo, rest assured it can be traced to a responsibly managed forest. FSC celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and the city of Bonn has played a major role in the history of the organization, and supported FSC in the fight for responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC Director General, Kim Carstensen, tells us more about FSC’s connection with its adopted city.

FSC was established in Oaxaca, Mexico, where its secretariat opened in 1994. But as the organization started to engage more with various international stakeholders, it made more sense to relocate the headquarters to a geographical region which gives easier access to its stakeholders - such as donors, market partners and FSC members.

Several European cities offered to host FSC, but ultimately Bonn’s strong political and technical support proved a strong incentive and in 2003, it became FSC’s new home. Since the 1990s, Bonn has become the German hub for experts in environment, development and health, an asset that FSC International took into consideration in their decision.

FSC and its certification scheme have kept growing since it relocated in Bonn

"Bonn has everything we need," explains FSC Director General, Kim Carstensen, "We are centrally located to reach our partners wherever they are, with the proximity of Frankfurt International Airport with good access to the world, and with fast train connections to most countries in Europe. The fact that Bonn is a United Nations City and a growing hub for international NGOs has also helped turn FSC into a global player."

In 2004, FSC settled into a former government office at the edge of Rheinaue in Charles-de-Gaulle Strasse. Back then, the organization had 30 employees and certified more than 40 million hectares of forests worldwide. FSC grew considerably during the period that followed. In March 2018, the FSC International team - now reaching 100 employees - had to move into a bigger office in Adenauerallee. Certification numbers have also risen, with more than 195 million hectares of forests now globally FSC certified.

In Germany around 12 per cent of the total forest area is now FSC certified, including Stadtwald Bonn, with 597 hectares. The city forest entered into the system in 1999 and has been certified since. But the links between FSC and its hometown do not stop there.

FSC and the city of Bonn: a strong connection

"FSC and the city of Bonn have a strong connection together. Our organization has participated various times in the United Nations day organized annually in October at the Marktplatz. We shared a booth with other organizations for a few years,” says Kim Carstensen, "We also have a team running the Deutsche Post Marathon in Bonn since 2014, and a group of staff members collected waste along the Rhine last September to make our city a cleaner place and encourage responsible choices, like FSC-certified packaging, as an alternative to plastic.”

FSC is also a member of the Bonn International NGOs (BINGO) association. Members of BINGO include Fairtrade, IFOAM, ICLEI, and the International Paralympic Committee - all organizations based in Bonn. The association organizes annual get-togethers for the international NGOs’ staff and makes the link between them and the city representatives.
As FSC employees come from all around the world - for example, from South Africa, Mexico, India, USA, Netherlands, Peru - contacts with the city’s foreign workers are essential: the staff usually connects with Bonn’s big international community fairly quickly.

Additionally, FSC named one of its key initiatives after its hometown: the FSC Bonn Initiative. The aim of this initiative - which was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in November 2017- is to document and quantify the benefits that FSC-certified forests provide to the efforts to mitigate global warming and fight climate Change.

FSC at Deutsche Post Marathon
FSC International clean-up action

Plans for the 25th anniversary

Bonn will also be at the centre of the FSC 25th anniversary.

FSC is preparing various activities for this key turning point. It will use the strapline "25 years of making a difference” for all the communications around the celebration. "We want to highlight FSC milestones and accomplishments through the history of our organization,” says Kim Carstensen. The organization will use social media posts and various assets to present its accomplishments.

Events will be organized all around the world in 2019, with FSC International members in particular, but FSC will also be celebrating its anniversary with a series of events in and around Bonn: "All preparations for the commemoration will be supervised by the city. FSC is also planning a key event in September which will take place in Oaxaca, the official birthplace of our organization. This way, the two cities that made FSC what it is today will be playing major parts in its anniversary celebration,” concludes Kim Carstensen.

Please check the FSC International website for more information

Last update: February 12, 2019



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