Getting down with 
 Mother Nature

Customers often ask for certified forest products. When they see certification labels and logos on your products, they know you care enough to take action for our forests. Make sure you know the facts regarding certification and which labels you can use on your product.

There is a number of certification systems available in North America, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Though you may hear otherwise, the above three standards are in fact more similar than different. The reality is that less than 10 percent of the world’s forests and only 13 percent of US forests are certified. That’s why, even when a paper mill or manufacturer has a certified chain-of-custody system, they may not be able to label all of their products as certified. In many cases, there  just isn’t enough fiber from certified forests. To ensure availability, maintain options and contain costs, it is best to consider certification from multiple systems. 

The goals of both the FSC and SFI programs are similar, and their standards contain many common elements. Each program spells out objectives for the protection of endangered species, wildlife, soil quality and water quality. Both systems were developed by diverse groups of stakeholders, and adherence to their respective standards is certified by accredited independent third-party auditors.
Forest Certification 
 Labels Matter

Chain-of-custody certification labels provide on-products proof of the integrity of your supply chain. By tracking fiber through every phase of paper production, a certified paper company protects wildlife, plants, soil, water, and, ultimately, people. 

Certification meets you aren't just buying paper - you're fulfilling a promise today for generations to come. 


Don’t limit yourself to one certification system – get dual- or tri-certified by the same auditor for about the same price. Multiple routes to certification have led to improved standards and more options for obtaining certified products. This availability also helps keep costs down.

Is there a 

YES. The cost of certification for printers is generally $1,500 – $5,000 annually, depending on the auditing agency and the size of your business. You can save time and money by getting multiple certifications in one audit, so plan ahead when scheduling an auditing agency, While no one welcomes additional costs, you should note that the cost of not getting certified could be much higher in the long run. And the call for sustainability is not going away; it grows louder every day. 

Labels and Logos Explained

Certification systems allow the use of on-product labels to indicate a product’s adherence to defined certification standards. In addition, promotional logos (sometimes referred to as “service markers” or “promotional marks”) are used to promote a commitment to sustainable forest management. Note: to use either on-product labels or promotional logos you must receive approval from the auditor or certifying organization prior to printing. 

On-product Labels:

These make a specific claim about the product. To use on-product labels, printers must be certified to the relevant standard. Once certified, printers have access to all art files and guidelines necessary to use the appropriate label. Note: FSC guidelines prohibit the use of other on-product labels in conjunction with an FSC on-product label. PEFC and SFI systems allow both labels to be used together if desired. 

The Market Builder, Inc. logo white

Promotional Logos:

These are used to promote a company’s commitment to sustainability on advertisements, collateral pieces, etc. Promotional logos are never used to make product claims. Printers do not have to be certified print logos. Use of promotional logos from multiple organizations is allowed on a single piece. 


On-product labels show proof of the product’s adherence to certification standards. Promotional logos are a way for companies to advertise their commitment to protecting the future of our forests, but do not indicate product certification. Both require prior approval, which ensures that when a customer sees a label or logo they know that the company making the product supports and values sustainability.

Forest Certification Programs Adapt to Reality

The reality is that less than 10 percent of the world’s forests are certified, a fact recognized by both FSC and SFI. Both standards allow wood fiber from non-certified forests to be used as long as it is responsibly managed, and both rigorously address the issues of illegal logging and endangered forests. When you use FSC or SFI chain-of-custody labels on your products, it assures your customers that your sources are responsibly managed. 

Types of Forest Certification and Associated Labels

Certification Type
Areas Covered
Who can be certified
On-Product Labels
Forest Management
Forest Management
Certifies that the forest is well-managed in accordance with social, environmental, and economic requirements
Not Applicable
Fiber Procurement Certification
Procurement Harvesting
Ensures responsible sourcing of wood fiber from both certified and non-certified forests
Landowners Manufacturers
Chain-of-Custody Certification
Forest Management Harvesting Manufacturing Converting Printing Merchandising
Tracks wood fiber from the forest to retail shelves to ensure the integrity of the supply chain
Landowners Wood Suppliers Manufacturers Converters Merchants Printers Binders

How to get started with certification

Any company along the supply chain of forest products, including manufacturers, paper merchants, brokers, printers and publishers, is eligible to seek chain-of-custody certification. To ensure options and contain costs, consider tri-certification. Currently there are three auditors that provide tri-certification: 

Bureau Veritas Certification North America, Inc.

David Vigil

800-706-0086 ext. 3075

QMI-SAI Global

Guillaume Gignac

888-723-7755 ext. 2438

SGS Systems and Services Certification

Paul Dasilveira


At the Market Builder, we strongly support third-party certification, chain-of-custody and internationally recognized forest certification standards as part of our ongoing sustainability and conservation commitments to our business partners and customers. 

All of our paper products are third-party certified, and our mils are tri-certified to FSC, PEFC, and SFI