Jackson’s comment from an earlier post brings up a good point. Who should you believe when it comes to all this chain-of-custody certification stuff? One thing that should be made clear is that, in my opinion, no responsible printer can claim to be totally green. The amount of power, water, and solvents needed just to keep the presses in good working order cancels out the concept of green printing. Since that’s the case, you have to look at a printer’s other operations, procedures, and supply chains.
I can only speak to my experience as an employee of PrintingForLess.com. What I know to be true about us is that when it was time to build a new building we took a very holistic approach. Energy use, preserving sight lines (the mountains in my header can be seen from our deck), air quality in the building for the people and the paper, and what building and finishing materials to use. Everything was important to us so everything was considered in order to offset the fact that high quality commercial printing needs to use paper with virgin pulp in it.
The Forest Stewardship Council certification we possess allows us to confidently tell our customers that the choice of paper they use for their project is responsibly grown, harvested, processed, and printed on from tree to final marketing piece. If it’s important enough to our customers, but only after approval from our FSC representative, we are able to print the FSC logo on their marketing piece to indicate the choice they’ve made. It gives me the confidence that communities and ecologies from where the trees come from use sustainable practices and allow people to benefit from the work they do.
More to Jackson’s question, it looks to me, with only very little investigation, that the Sustainable Forestry Initiative maintains a North American focus while the FSC is very much internationally based. And, if you read their websites you can see that they aren’t handing out certifications like coasters at a pub. As far as lip service is concerned, you need to get back to basics and evaluate your relationship with your printer. Printing is a trust buy, especially if you’re working with an online printer. If you trust your printer to be responsive, responsible, and invested in your success, I would wager that you can trust them not give you any lip about sustainable practices.