FSC Certification: Is It Worth It?
For Dale Wymore, earning chain-of-custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was the most natural thing in the world.
“One of our strategic priorities on campus is a sustainability initiative, and so really [we were] just trying to follow the guiding principals of the university,” says Wymore, manager of Printing Services at California State University-Chico.
Across the country at Messiah College, in Grantham, Pa., the view is a bit different.
“The issue of the environment is important,” says Dwayne Magee, director of the College Press. “But having the certification in our shop isn’t a huge issue.”
Over the past year, a handful of in-plants—mostly in higher-ed—have earned FSC chain-of-custody certification. By making the extra effort to promote sustainability, they are setting a great example and improving the image of their in-plants and their parent organizations.
Yet many other in-plants—no less concerned about the environment—question the benefits of certification from programs like the FSC, the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) or others. They are recycling, using vegetable-based inks, eliminating chemicals and even using FSC-certified papers, but they feel the extra expense of certification, especially in a time of cutbacks, is not worth it.
“I don’t know that I could justify [the cost] just to be allowed to print some silly logo,” says Don Harty, former assistant director of campus services at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. He echoes the view of many who wonder why they need to go through the hassle and expense of FSC certification just to show they care about the environment.
Those that got the certification, though, say the cost and minimal extra work are more than paid back through an improved image, an alignment with the organization’s priorities and a sense of doing the right thing.
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Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.