PIA Affiliates Launch First Group FSC Certification for Printers

SEWICKLEY, PA | Sixteen Printing Industries of America affiliates have come together to form the Regional Affiliate Certificate Group, offering manufacturing printers access to FSC chain of custody certification at group prices. On December 1, 2010, 47 companies were successfully included in the group launch, which is the first printers group created in North America. Although the group is limited to only accepting manufacturing companies with sales of less than $5 million, administrator Jim Tepper sees potential for many firms across the US.  

“The majority of print manufacturers are companies with sales less than $5 million and have struggled with the process and cost of FSC compliance,” notes Tepper. “By partnering with a group manager and a well-respected auditing firm, we have utilized the advantage of association membership to provide our members a way of meeting their customer’s needs at an affordable price which is less than half of a single certification.”

The group has engaged Shonstrom Consulting, a former SmartWood consultant, to manage the group as well as provide trademark review and approval for all members. American Green, a Burlington, VT, based audit and certification firm, and also former SmartWood auditors, conducts the external audits of the group and is assisting with group organization.  PINE, the New England affiliate, is providing coordination for the group with assistance from PIAlliance and PIAmidamerica.

By aggregating participating firms, costs are substantially lower than with individual certification. The full costs are prorated across the entire group. An additional benefit is the availability of the group manager to assist members with compliance, document preparation, advice on organization of records, etc., which is generally not part of single audit procedures.

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