Having been in the industry for 35 years, one tends to see many fads and fashions come and mostly go by the wayside. We have seen foil stamping become a “must use” design feature for high-end coated products, recycled papers spike and plummet in popularity and most recently the advent of certified paper, pulp and wood products. Based on my own observations, it looks like the FSC products are headed in the same downward direction.
I would say there are a few very logical reasons for this.

First, when the heart and the wallet collide in a conflict of objectives, the wallet wins 98% of the time. If a designer or publisher is faced with “being green” or not publishing an issue, they will skip going green. And let’s face it, many publications are barely hanging on by their fingertips, hoping to sell enough ad space to turn a profit.

Secondly, FSC is making it cost prohibitive for printers to continue to pay for an annual audit and certification without the benefit of an increase in Revenue. Once again, if I am going to lose a very small amount of business if I am not certified, why pay the expense in a down economy with predatory pricing?

Thirdly, many customers eyes gloss over when you try and explain how the process works. Other have not even heard of it. So – why should my Salesforce be educating the marketplace, when that should be the job of the certifying body?

The fate of certified papers is still undecided by the marketplace – but its’ prominence is diminishing daily.