Wilsonart’s FSC® Initiative Advances Entire Industry

If you are a specifier seeking FSC-certified decorative laminate to qualify for US Green Building Council’s LEED® credits, flip this page over to learn more about selecting Wilsonart® Laminate with confidence.

But if you’re wondering what FSC-Certification even is, and why you should care, read on…


“When our director of sustainability first approached us about supplying FSC-certified laminate in 2008, nobody knew what that would entail because it had never been done,” says Anthony Woytek, Wilsonart’s product development specialist. FSC Certification is designed to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. “In researching the standard, we learned that it would be a very involved process and a big financial investment,” says Woytek. “But we decided to pursue it for two reasons.

1. It is the right thing to do. Our product is 70 percent wood-based fiber, and it is our responsibility to help maintain the forests. And
2. It is increasingly important to our customers, especially on the commercial side.”

A value-added product, such as decorative laminate, can only achieve FSC Certification if all its wood-based components also meet the criteria. “We thought we would call up our suppliers and order FSC-certified materials. It would be easy,” says Joe Branch manager, product and process implementation for Wilsonart. “But most of them didn’t know about it either. So, the first thing we did was start an education program for all our suppliers about what FSC Certification was and why we wanted it.”

Suppliers of kraft paper, printed décor paper and overlay all accepted the challenge, and in turn, they required their networks of suppliers to do the same.

For Wilsonart’s initiative to be realized, every wood-based process and material, from the forest to finished product, had to be audited by a third-party to ensure that it met the FSC’s criteria. SCS Global Services worked with Wilsonart to certify many of its supply chain members.

In June 2009, Wilsonart became the first HPL manufacturer to earn the distinction of FSC Chain of Custody (CoC). “The initial certification included a temporary derogation, from 2010-12, that allowed us to work through existing uncontrolled inventory,” says Branch. “But the nature of the program is to continually raise the bar in terms of responsible management of resources. So, we took a very pro-active approach.” As of 2013, Wilsonart’s upgraded FSC Mix Credit Certification is available by request on every finish and product type, including most Contract and Home wallboard promoted designs.* Wilsonart recently upgraded its FSC offering (FSC-C022201) to include all Contract and Home wallboard promoted designs. FSC Mix Credit Certification is now available on request on every finish and product type.*


When specifying for LEED credits, it is important to understand the difference between FSC Controlled Wood and FSC Certified Wood.

Controlled Wood has been identified as originating from regions where the risks of illegal logging, genetically modifi ed wood, and other controversial practices are low. Controlled Wood is not the same as FSC Certified Wood. Controlled Wood HPL does NOT contribute to LEED credits. 

*Product Type 182 is the single product exception. A few designs are excluded at this time. See Sustain.Wilsonart.com for complete details. 

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