FSC Ranked Top Certification for Sustainable Forestry

FSC Ranked Top Certification for Sustainable Forestry

Wood and paper products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council is the most effective certification system for managing Canadian forests, according to research by management consulting firm ÉEM.

The results, which were released by environmental publishing advocates Markets Initiative compares FSC certification to three other standards used in Canada, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certifications (PEFC), and found FSC superior for its prohibition on using genetically modified trees, preventing the conversion of natural forests to tree plantations, and its emphasis on the precautionary principle when managing lands that have high value for conservation.

"Forest certification schemes have competed for recognition in the market place for years, but this research clearly shows FSC as being the ideal choice when it comes to sustainability," said Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Vancouver-based Markets Initiative, which presented the top level findings at an industry conference in late September. "Given the growth of green markets in Canada and around the world, this research can serve as a clear guide for the increasing number of customers looking for environmental solutions."

The Markets Initiative has encouraged more than 200 book, magazine and newspaper publishers in Canada to develop environmental purchasing polices, which aim to help safeguard ancient and endangered forests and give preference to papers with the highest possible amount of recycled and agricultural residue content and use virgin fiber only from FSC-certified forests.

As a result of the market demand created by these publishers, which include Raincoast Books, McClelland & Stewart, The Walrus, Cottage Life and NOW, the group says they have helped develop more than 50 new papers with ecological attributes, and estimates that nearly a million trees have been saved by publishers printing on Ancient Forest Friendly and eco-friendly papers.

An additional success of the program has been the announcement last month that the Ontario government had developed a paper purchasing policy giving preference to recycled content and FSC virgin fibers.

“Being the only forest certification comparison that looks at the four North American schemes as they apply in Canada, we hope those in the private and public sectors will use it as a resource as they move forward with environmental paper initiatives,” said Paul MacLean, President of ÉEM Inc.

A summary of the report and more information is available from MarketsInitiative.org.