EY: Monetized impacts of using FSC certified tropical wood

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) enables the certification of timber products, which have a positive impact on society and environment compared to timber from unknown origins. FSC certification requires responsible management of environmental impacts, thereby greatly improving the material impact of carbon sequestration and biodiversity. However, communicating these impacts, especially their quantities and associated economic value, remains a challenge for the timber industry. To address this challenge, the Dutch department of FSC asked EY to help develop an online tool which enables the calculation and communication of the monetized impacts of using FSC certified tropical wood. The chosen approach compares FSC certified tropical wood and tropical wood from an unknown origin. This enabled us to focus on the positive impacts of FSC certified tropical wood. The monetized impacts represent the reduced prevention costs associated with deforestation. The prevention costs were calculated using the Eco-costs model developed at the Delft University of Technology. This scientific model is used as a so-called “single indicator” in LCA, and expresses environmental impacts in euros.

Natural Capital Protocol used
  • Yes
Impact drivers assessed
  • GHG emissions e.g. volume of CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, HFCs and PFCs etc.
  • Impact on biodiversity e.g. impact on species, ecosystems, habitats or genetic diversity
  • Terrestrial ecosystem use e.g. area of agriculture by type, area of forest plantation by type
Organizational Focus
  • Product
Valuation Type
  • Quantitative
  • Monetary
  • Value to society
Dependencies assessed
  • Biodiversity
  • Materials e.g. wood fiber, genetic resources, metals, minerals, plant and animal materials
Value Chain Boundary
  • Upstream
Sectors
  • Services

Key findings

The FSC impact tool calculates the positive impact of FSC certified wood per m3 for 27 tropical wood species from South America, Africa and South-East Asia. This tool enables the timber industry to assess and communicate the reduced environmental risks associated with selecting FSC certified wood products over wood products from unknown origins by building an online calculation tool based on scientific impact measurement and valuation methodologies.

By showing the benefits of choosing FSC certified tropical wood, FSC can increase their market share of certified tropical wood while helping to reduce the negative impacts of non-certified wood forestry. Using the tool for specific construction projects in The Netherlands has revealed that using FSC certified tropical hardwoods avoids natural capital depletion with a value of approximately 20% of the direct project costs.