The decisions we make every day directly affect the health and future of our forests. The launch of the new Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) 2015-2019 Standards and Rules marks an important advancement to support better decision making all along the supply chain and to promote sustainable forest management. When a Fortune 500 company sources forest products, a landowner makes a forest management plan or a consumer buys copy paper, they can all make the right choice for our forests by choosing SFI.
“The future of our forests depends on credible, transparent and auditable standards to enable sustainable resource use for today and generations to come. Our work starts with the SFI standards, but SFI is so much more — it’s a community that stands together for the health and future of forests,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. “SFI plays a central role in strengthening the vital link between healthy forests, responsible purchasing and sustainable communities.”
A major change to the structure of the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules is the establishment of three stand-alone standards:
The SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard promotes sustainable forestry practices based on 13 Principles, 15 Objectives, 37 Performance Measures and 101 Indicators. These requirements include measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with exceptional conservation value.
The SFI 2015-2019 Fibre Sourcing Standard promotes responsible forestry practices based on 14 Principles, 13 Objectives, 21 Performance Measures and 55 Indicators that address the 90 percent of the world’s forests that are not certified. These fibre sourcing requirements include measures to broaden the conservation of biodiversity, use forestry best management practices to protect water quality, provide outreach to landowners and utilize the services of forest management and harvesting professionals. Because it directs how SFI Program Participants procure fibre from non-certified land, this standard encourages the use of responsible forestry practices.
The SFI 2015-2019 Chain of Custody Standard tracks the percentage of fibre from certified forests, certified sourcing and recycled content through production and manufacturing to the end product. Organizations can use physical separation, average percentage or volume credit methods to track and communicate their chain of custody claims. The SFI Chain of Custody standard is applied globally.
“The revised SFI standards will continue to serve as a proof point for responsible forestry in North America,” said Lawrence Selzer, Chair of the SFI Board of Directors and President and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “These standards are shaped by the people and communities who put them into practice every day.”
Forests certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard cover more than a quarter billion acres/100 million hectares, stretching from Canada’s boreal forest to the U.S. South. This scale means that the new standard is set to have an ever-growing impact on forestry practices in communities across North America. Endorsement by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) increases SFI’s international recognition.
The SFI standards are updated every five years to incorporate the latest scientific information and to respond to emerging issues. As part of this update, comments were received during two 60-day public comment periods and input was gathered from 12 public workshops across the United States and Canada. Approximately 10,000 stakeholders were invited to submit comments. Participants included public and private landowners, forest sector representatives, indigenous communities, conservation groups, industry representatives, academics and government officials. The responses to comments are posted on the SFI website.
Independent oversight was provided at each stage of the revision process by the SFI External Review Panel, a distinguished group of independent experts representing conservation, professional, academic and public organizations, operating at arm’s length from SFI.
“The SFI External Review Panel’s role was to ensure the standard revision process was transparent, objective and credible. We reviewed the responses to every public comment that was submitted. This focus on transparency is a major strength of the SFI program,” said Robin Morgan, Chair of theSFI External Review Panel and Deputy Director of Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Resources at the USDA Forest Service.