FSC is an independent, member-led group organized into social, environmental, and economic chambers that have equal authority.

There are ten principles that any forest operation must adhere to before it can receive FSC forest management certification.

These principles cover a broad range of issues, from maintaining high conservation values to community relations and workers’ rights, as well as monitoring the environmental and social impacts of the forest management.

FSC's forest management standards expand protection of water quality, prohibit harvest of rare old-growth forest, prevent loss of natural forest cover and prohibit highly hazardous chemicals, which are all unique aspects of the system.