Proving you’re contributing to the world’s net-zero by 2050 goal is now a business imperative. In this third blog of the Unite in the Forest Fight series, we share how companies’ forest stewardship is unlocking tangible benefits with verified data. 

For far too long, the value of forests has been measured by the quantity of commercial products we can take from them. Unsustainable harvesting of timber, rubber, and other forest products are taking their toll, as is continued deforestation for expansion of agricultural land for livestock feed production, such as soy and, and for crops such as palm oil1. 

It’s no surprise that each year approximately 12 million hectares of forest are destroyed2. Traditionally, economic incentives have prioritised degradation and conversion at the expense of conservation, often neglecting the vital efforts of forest managers. 

Yet, as the world confronts the imperative of achieving a global net-zero by 2050, forest stewardship finally finds its rightful place in the spotlight.

A forest through a new lense

Companies that either directly or indirectly contribute to unsustainable forestry practices are facing increasing scrutiny, with greenwashing practices being exposed. The private sector is under mounting regulatory pressure to disclose their environmental impacts, while consumers and investors demand comprehensive strategies to address carbon footprints. 

The reality is, the undervalued ecosystem services that forests provide hold the key to our sustainable future. Beyond the positive environmental and social impact, the business value of supporting these services is tangible.  

Ecosystem services cover activities like the forests’ ability to provide fresh air and water, regulate soil erosion, store carbon and more. Not to mention forests’ importance for tourism, and the habitat they provide to wildlife, which is linked to biodiversity protection. 


It’s through these services that forests are able to battle some of the largest global crises of our time – the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. And it’s why savvy companies are supporting responsible forestry. But there’s a catch – such businesses should be able to back up their actions with accurate data. 

Priceless but not immeasurable

Ecosystem services are incredibly valuable, although historically, monitoring and reporting on their impact has been a roadblock. Assuming data on ecosystem services is available, the second challenge is ensuring this data is credible.  

High-integrity data is a prerequisite for regulatory compliance, and for investors looking to support companies’ ESG initiatives. The use of poor-quality data by a business has been linked to a higher reputational risk with low impact on operational benefits (such as cost reductions), which remain untapped. 

Tackling these issues, FSC has worked on a transparent solution to help businesses unlock high-quality, verified, data-driven claims around responsible forestry projects. Specifically, FSC provides high-integrity data for five types of ecosystem services: carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, watershed services, soil conservation, and recreational services. 


Historically known as Ecosystem Services and soon to be renamed “Verified Impact”, the solution we are developing aims to match businesses to ecosystem-services projects in FSC-certified forests. These projects, run on the ground by forest managers, focus on monitoring, maintenance, and improvement of ecosystem services. The business, as a project sponsor, has access to credible, verified data around the real-world environmental and social impact that the project is having.  

These claims provide substance to storytelling efforts, offer transparency for regulatory compliance, and motivate business investment. In turn, the company’s reputation is strengthened, which is good for performance, too.

Verified impact in action

Huong Son State Forest Company is actively engaged in protecting and restoring the forest within Vietnam's Ha Tinh province, leveraging the benefits of FSC ecosystem services claims. Spanning 20,000 hectares of forest land, this region hosts a rich biodiversity of more than 2,300 plant and animal species. Thanks to its commitment, 727,425 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) were successfully sequestered from the atmosphere during the period spanning from 2015 to 2020. 

A partnership between Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) and TreeStory was successful in achieving the first FSC Ecosystem Services impact verification in the UK for Ardura Forest, on the Isle of Mull. The forest became FSC certified in 2020, as part of the UK Forest Certification (UKFCG) group scheme, confirming that its management meets FSC’s globally recognized Principles and Criteria for responsible forest management. Through their management, MICT has restored 47.4 hectares of natural forest between 2019 and 2023. 

These are just two of the many companies using Ecosystem Services (soon Verified Impact) to raise their profile as forest stewards. To learn how you can benefit from our Verified Impact solution, contact FSC via