The Difference between FSC and SFI

As a designer, I use a lot of paper. I use the most paper when printing jobs for clients. Nothing like printing 25,000 copies of something to use up a ton of paper. These days I often get asked to choose certified paper for print jobs. So what's the difference between FSC and SFI certifications?

These two older articles from Treehugger explain FSC vs SFI: Article 1 and Article 2. In summary:

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

  • Never harvests more than what grows back
  • Protects biodiversity and endangered species
  • Saves rare ancient trees
  • Guards local streams
  • Supports the local people
  • Uses narrow skidding trails so as not to disrupt the rest of the forest
  • Prohibits replacement by tree plantations
  • Bans toxic chemicals
  • Bans genetically modified trees (no GMO)

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)

  • Allows large clearcuts
  • Allows logging close to rivers and streams that harms water supplies
  • Allows use of toxic chemicals
  • Allows conversion of old-growth forests to tree plantations
  • Allows use of genetically modified trees

Some certification is probably better than no certification and I think SFI certification is improving its standards but at this point, I'm choosing FSC.

From a purely practical point of view, if you are a tight print schedule, FSC tends to be more responsive with my local vendors (getting back within hours) rather than SFI (24-36 hrs).

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