Home > posts > New Study: Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Monopoly Threatens American Consumers, Jobs and Industry
October 3rd, 2012 5:04 pm
New Study: Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Monopoly Threatens American Consumers, Jobs and Industry
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A new study confirms something we’ve highlighted here at CFIF in recent weeks:   The environmental activist campaign to grant the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) a monopoly over forestry certification standards in the United States would (1) substantially raise costs for American consumers, (2) threaten domestic jobs, (3) disproportionately punish American producers, (4) increase importation of foreign wood and (5) paradoxically incentivize use of less environmentally-friendly materials.

A little background: The clear majority of certified timber in North America is not certified by FSC.  Instead, it is certified by credible certification programs, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS).   Some environmentalist groups, however, have commenced a campaign to strongarm U.S.  businesses into only using wood and paper products that satisfy the FSC’s preferred standard.

The problem?  As confirmed by the new study, an FSC certification monopoly would threaten domestic industry, cost American jobs and raise prices for consumers.  Entitled The Monopolization of Forest Certification:  Do Disparate Standards Increase Consumer Costs and Undermine Sustainability?, the study vividly and alarmingly summarizes its findings:

• The FSC certification seems to be significantly more costly than other standards, thereby raising producer costs and consumer prices in the range of 15% to 20%, as well as upsetting the balance between sustainability and economic viability;
• The FSC standard in the US appears to be stricter, and therefore more costly, than standards applied overseas, thereby disadvantaging US producers and raising retail prices for American consumers; and
• If a FSC standard becomes a regulatory requirement for US forests (through edict or non-market pressures from outside groups), consumer welfare losses would occur in a number of markets, including an estimated loss of $10 billion per year for wood products and $24 billion per year for paper products markets.”

Rather than subject ourselves to a foreign monopoly with such destructive consequences, the preferable alternative is to continue competition between certification programs – which will spur economic and consumer benefits.

This new study substantiates that and comes at an opportune time as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has just opened up their discriminatory LEED process for public comment.

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