Study Reveals Certification Superiority of Forest Stewardship Council

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Not all certified wood is created — or harvested — equally.

December 01, 2001

Not all certified wood is created - or harvested - equally. That’s the conclusion of the Meridian Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit think tank, in a study comparing the two competing U.S. forest certifiers. The results show that the Sustainable Forestry Initiative of the American Forest & Paper Association falls far short of the Forest Stewardship Council system.

The study was sponsored by The Home Depot, the FSC and the AF&PA, the primary association of the wood products industry. As a consensus study focused on comparison, it did not point to one program as superior or make recommendations, but the results show the considerable differences between the independent, third-party FSC system and its industry-sponsored competitor.

SFI regulations are less stringent on clear cutting, preservation of old-growth and endangered species, water quality and conservation of biological diversity. The SFI also lacks a consistent chain-of-custody system identifying lumber and other wood products as havingbeen harvested from a certified forest.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that has worked with at least two major builders, Pulte and KB Home, in developing environmentally responsible wood procurement and use habits, contends that although the SFI continues to improve, "the underlying conclusions of the study justify the continuing preferences of companies for FSC."

The study can be downloaded at Meridian’s Web site,

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