Connecting Purchases to Healthy Forests
March 29th | 2017

From our dining room tables to a 12 oz. cup of coffee, we touch products made from forests hundreds of times each day. But what do we really know about the specific forests from which these goods come?

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) serves as the preeminent body to ensure commercial forests are harvested with the utmost care and respect for today and future generations. They do so by acting as a certification system that connects businesses and brands — ranging from McDonald's to small furniture shops — to responsibly sourced materials from forests that maintain the highest standards for sustainable practices.

And while this mission is vital to both the health of the forests and humanity itself, the organization has been largely invisible to the general public. The FSC logo adorns a comprehensive range of products across the U.S. but studies showed that only 6 percent of the population understood what it stands for. As a result, the companies and forest owners that meet FSC's high standards weren’t getting the biggest bang for their buck.

Image via

Zeus Jones and FSC came together to make the organization more tangible.

As you can tell from the above, it’s not the easiest story to tell in a short amount of time. So, we rolled up our sleeves and got busy with a visual style and tonality that spoke to the fabric of FSC. While incorporating some familiar colors and graphical elements, we also created a richer language to share the wealth of benefits the FSC provides — from ensuring water quality for all to protecting indigenous people on forest lands. This ranged from an expanded color palette to illustrations to specific cues in language.

Updated logo lockup with full Forest Stewardship Council name

But developing this approach with FSC was only the beginning. In addition, our work had to be approved by World Wildlife Fund's Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) partners — including HP, Kimberly Clark, Procter & Gamble, McDonald's and many more.

Clean, graphic iconography

Woodcuts contributed by Erik Linton

An example of how FSC's brand can live alongside partners

We also needed to give FSC business partners like Proctor and Gamble, Williams Sonoma and countless others a clear and consistent method to communicate their FSC story. We accomplished this through a digital resource guide containing downloadable photos, images, audio clips, and copy guidance to share their FSC story. In addition, the site contains presentation slides and literature to help potential partners sell the benefits of FSC to their bosses and board members.

A digital resource to help brands tell their own FSC story

Our ultimate goal, however, was to help customers see” FSC-certified products.

To answer this, we developed an anthem video that showed people how protecting forests is as simple as looking for the FSC logo. Through distribution from the GFTN, our piece became the most successful video in U.S. FSC history and was shared with the global FSC organization as an example of effective storytelling.