Frequently Asked Questions - FSC Certification

Find out what FSC certification is all about and what Cascades is committed to.

International forest certification from the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) recognizes companies whose practices meet the most stringent requirements for sustainable forest management. Compliance with the requirements of this certification is assessed annually by a third-party organization. Not only does FSC ensure the protection of rare or endangered forest ecosystems and wildlife species, but it also enforces respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, communities and workers. 

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Forest certification ensures the sustainability, traceability and legality of our sources of supply of virgin and recycled fibre. It also allows us to meet our customers’ objectives of responsible sourcing of forest resources.

It may seem counterintuitive to say that FSC also ensures the traceability of recycled fibre, even though it is a forest certification. FSC has provided this option for identifying a product with recycled content because, after all, recycled fibre is the best way to maximize the yield of a tree.  

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In Canada, there are three forest certification systems: those of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

There are several forest certification systems. Each certification system has its particularities, but they share the same objective, i.e. sustainable forest management. Cascades has a network of more than 90 business units located in North America and Europe. FSC certification was a logical choice as it is the only forest certification whose standards are internationally applicable and allowed us to include all of our operating units. This decision was also motivated by the fact that many environmental NGOs prefer FSC certification because of the standards’ rigour, and our customers can include FSC trademarks on their packaging to demonstrate their commitment to the responsible use of forest resources.

There are two types of FSC labels at Cascades. FSC MIX labels identify products that are made from a combination of FSC virgin fibre and/or recycled materials with controlled virgin fibre. FSC RECYCLED labels identify products that are made with 100% recycled fibre. Unlike general ‘recycled’ claims, which require no verification, the FSC Recycled label provides assurance that all the fibre in a product comes from recycled and fully traceable sources.

Issues related to the sustainable management of Canada’s forests relate primarily to woodland caribou, the protection of threatened or vulnerable species, the rights of Indigenous peoples, and the conservation and management of intact forest landscapes.

Globally, the main challenges related to sustainable forest management are deforestation and forest degradation, climate change and illegal logging. 

Since fibre is not infinitely recyclable, adding virgin fibre remains unavoidable to maintain balance in the paper cycle. In this context, the supply of virgin fibre from sustainably managed forests becomes especially important.

We use only 17% virgin fibre in our products. The remaining 83% is recycled fibre. This way we reduce the global pressure on forests! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one tonne of recycled fibre represents 17 trees saved. By prioritizing recycled fibre in the manufacture of its products, Cascades saves more than 30.7 million trees each year. 

100% of Cascades’ supply of raw materials (virgin and recycled fibre) meets the strict requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council standards below: 

  • Forest Stewardship Council – Forest Management Standards
  • Forest Stewardship Council – Chain of Custody Standard
  • Forest Stewardship Council – FSC standard for sourcing reclaimed material
  • Forest Stewardship Council – Controlled Wood Standards

The quantities for each FSC input (post-consumer fibre, pre-consumer fibre, FSC 100%, FSC Mix, FSC Recycled and FSC Controlled Wood) vary according to market conditions and raw material availability.


Whether tropical, Mediterranean, temperate or boreal, forests are the habitat of 80% of the world's animals and plants. Overexploitation or mismanagement of our forests can be a threat to biodiversity. While we have always preferred recycled fiber in our products and will continue to do so, depending on the availability of recycled fiber and the specific technical needs of certain customers, the use of virgin fiber and paper is sometimes unavoidable. Cascades sources as much as possible from well-managed forests in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification standards.

An FSC-certified forest must meet some of the highest environmental, social and economic standards available. This includes maintaining the biodiversity, productivity and ecological balance of the forest. In Canada, FSC certificate holders must comply with the FSC Canada-wide standard for forest management. In this standard, special attention is given to the boreal populations of woodland caribou.

Opt for FSC-certified products at every opportunity. Look for the FSC label, including the famous checkmark-and-tree logo, on your tissue products, packaging and wood products.


License codes: FSC® C002973, FSC® C018029, FSC® C116440