Eco Friendly Flooring Guide is a Great Resource

Lots of companies have "guides"- that simply take you around their own products. EcoTimber, (seen on TreeHugger here) which has been selling sustainably harvested wood since 1992, has produced a wood guide that is well laid out, fairly complete, and as they say on Fox, "fair and balanced"- a really useful resource if you are considering a wood floor.

Information is well laid out and to the point. They pull no punches (see their section on Eco-friendly flooring certification; like us, their gold standard is FSC and they avoid any of the industry-dominated ones)

SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative)

* Founded and dominated by the timber industry
* Weak environmental protections
* Allows conversion of natural forests (including old-growth) into tree farms
* No mandatory Chain of Custody to keep out illegal wood

CSA (Canadian Standards Association)

* Allows conversion of natural forests (including old-growth) into tree farms
* Fails to protect First Nations

PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification)

* Weak environmental standards
* No mandatory Chain of Custody
* Mutually recognizes virtually all forest certification systems, including SFI and CSA
* PEFC wood could come from almost any source

ISO (International Standards Organization)

* Standards address manufacturing practices, not forest management

IBAMA (Program of the Brazilian Government)

* Low environmental standards, poorly enforced
* No Chain of Custody
* Many reports of corruption

But they point out that even with FSC you have to be careful about the vendors.

Many companies that have FSC "Chain of Custody" (COC) certification, which gives them the right to buy and sell FSC certified wood, do not really sell that much FSC certified wood at all. This is particularly true in the wood flooring industry. Most FSC certified wood products have on-product FSC labels. If you are purchasing what you believe is FSC certified wood, but there are no FSC logos on the product packaging, it most likely is not certified, no matter what the rest of the information provided by the manufacturer or supplier might indicate. Some companies will even use the FSC logo on display samples, but ship uncertified material to fill your order.

On the whole, one of the better resources for advice on choosing a sustainable wood.

Eco Friendly Flooring Guide from EcoTimber, via Green Building Elements

More on EcoTimber in TreeHugger:

EcoTimber : Friendly Floors For All
Bamboo Flooring- Is It Really Treehugger Green?

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