One of the most common questions we get regularly is to explain the differences between the two most prominent programs in our business of certified wood products, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  It’s a common and understandable question.  Folks routinely get the two programs confused and even mix up the letters from time to time:  FSI, SFC, etc.  As common as this question is, it has always been difficult to respond to.  Our favorite analogy is to describe them as similar, competing brands and compare them to auto manufacturers.    Just as Ford and Toyota both make cars, FSC and SFI are both in the business of promoting and certifying responsibly sourced wood products. The fact remains, though, that there are differences.  And some of those differences are important.

It has become common knowledge in the industry that FSC certification is ‘harder’ than SFI.  We agree that this is the case but find it frustrating when folks equate ‘harder’ with ‘better’.   We tell our clients that the programs are just different.  But sometimes it can be difficult to explain just how and why.  SFI, Inc. sent out an email promotion this week that helps to highlight this difference is a very positive way.  We think it’s worth calling attention to.

SFI’s email release is calling attention to a publication they just released called SFI Conservation Impact: A Decade of Success.  It provides links to specific conservation projects funded and supported through the SFI certification network.  Projects addressing key conservation topics like Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Water Quality.  The publication itself is a splashy promotional brochure but is packed with specific details about meaningful projects addressing even more pressing topics that concern us all.  Take a look.  It’s quite impressive.

If you are inclined to be cynical (as we often are) you might be tempted to dismiss this material as shameless, self-promotion.  SFI, Inc. has a deserved reputation for that sort of thing.  But dismissing this report as just hype is a mistake.  This is meaningful stuff and worth paying attention to.  If your company participates in the SFI program, then take a moment to reflect on your part in creating some positive change.  If, like us, you’ve been dismissive of the #2 certification program, this might be a good reason to give them another look.

The SFI Impact report can be downloaded here.  You can read the email post below or click here to download a copy.

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