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OSBOriented strand board is an excellent alternative to plywood provided it is woodmarked and sourced as locally as possible.

The word ‘oriented’ refers to the fact that the strands (or flakes) of wood are slightly more orientated along the length of the sheet than across it, making it slightly stronger (in tensile strength) in that direction.

Greenpeace came out with a report about how unsustainable much of the plywood is that is imported into the UK, and how OSB is an excellent alternative. Below is an extract showing where OSB can be substituted for ply along with cost comparisons

Table 1. Sustainable alternatives

This table shows where illegal tropical hardwood plywood is typically used and the responsible alternatives available in the UK. All FSC OSB available in the UK market follows the CE2+ standard. FSC Marine Plywood follows the BS1088 standard.

the Norboard OSB factory at Morayhill, near Inverness. Nice snap thanks to Carol Walker

FSC Tropical Hardwood is also an available alternative.

The Wood Panel Industries Federation publish a guide to OSB including technical information

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