Useful References for Green Certification:
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
The FSC is probably the best know of the standard bodies and also probably the oldest. It is administered globally through offices in Bonn, Germany, and has national affiliates in many countries.
FSC Standards and Technical Documents –
Keeping up to date with FSC standards, policies, protocols, etc. can be daunting. They are all readily accessible, however, in the FSC Document Centre. All “normative” standards and guidance are managed centrally by FSC-IC. They can be found by searching or browsing here:
- look on the left bar under “Type” to select & browse by category
- Standards (STD)
- Directives (DIR) – mandatory guidance documents
- Policies (POL)
- Procedures (PRO)
- Official interpretations (INT)
Sustainable Forestry Inititative (SFI)
The SFI program is probably the leading alternative to FSC – at least in North America. It is administered through offices near Washington.
SFI Standards and Technical Documents –
The SFI program has some unique, and frankly a bit odd, approaches to certification labels and claims. We recommend this helpful summary.
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
The PEFC program (spelled the European way) is a the principal global alternative and competitor to FSC. It’s North American affiliate is the SFI program.
Standards and Technical Documents –
PEFC has established standards for Chain of Custody, Trademark Use, and recognition/endorsement of affiliated national standards like SFI.
Other important information about the PEFC system is found in the PEFC guidance documents.
Independent Information Sources
Dovetail Partners is one of the best places to go if you want detailed and (relatively) unbiased information about forest product certification, and other topics of environmental concern and interest.
Terrachoice is an environmental marketing and consulting firm that has been very prominent in helping to define “greenwashing” and promote accurate, supportable environmental claims in the business world. Their website provides access to some (in my opinion) required reading for anyone interested in green certification.
NEPCon is a site that offers a global focus from a European perspective, the NEPCon site provides a nice, concise summary of certification options and lots of good links to the broader marketplace. They are partnered with Rainforest Alliance (a certification service provider) so all of their “get certified” links lead to one source.
Two Sides provides very well-organized and helpful site aimed at supporting the case for paper as an environmentally responsible product. Two Sides mission could be accused of being a bit “one sided”, but they provide very comprehensive information sources and lots of helpful links.
The US Federal Trade Commission maintains a set of guidelines for Environmental Marketing Claims. Termed the Green Guides, this document remains definitive and indispensible for any company doing business in the United States.