A demonstrated commitment to environmentally friendly materials and business practices is a core component of sustainability. Every industry has certification boards that add third party credibility to claims. In the paper manufacturing industry, the three top certification bodies are the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Program for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC). These bodies can certify a manufacturer’s forestry practices, fiber sourcing, and chain-of-custody practices.
- Forest Certification – Forest certification verifies that a specific area of forest is being managed according to certain sustainability standards that work toward the well-being of the environment, as well as the economy and humanity.
- Fiber Sourcing Certification – Fiber sourcing governs how participants obtain wood fiber from forestland. It’s particularly useful to organizations that do not own or manage their own land, but purchase wood directly from forests. It helps ensure harvesting best practices and encourages landowners to become certified.
- Chain-of-Custody (COC) – COC is a means of tracking certified wood and wood-based products throughout the supply chain. A COC-certified product is a product from a manufacturer that follows the applicable COC standard and complies with the certification claim made on its packaging.
When evaluating a paper manufacturer, ask to see what types of forest, fiber sourcing, and chain-of-custody certifications they have obtained, as this gives a strong indication of their commitment to sustainability.
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