SFI Reaches Out to Stakeholders to Revise its Forestry Standard

Currently 240 million acres are third-party certified to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard on public and private lands.

June 5, 2013 (Press Release) - Today, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) launched the process of revising its current standard to develop the SFI 2015-2019 Standard, reaching out to more than 10,000 stakeholders for input. Currently 240 million acres (100 million hectares) are third-party certified to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard on public and private lands.

"The SFI Standard is developed through an open and inclusive process involving the many different people who know and care about our forests including public and private landowners, forest sector representatives, indigenous communities, conservation groups, industry, academia and government officials," said Kathy Abusow, SFI President & CEO. "This same diverse group of stakeholders represents the users of the SFI Standard who have achieved third-party certification to the SFI Standard on 240 million acres of forestland."

The transparent process of revising the SFI Program is overseen by the SFI Board of Directors and the SFI Resources Committee. Both the board and the Resources Committee have 18-members with equal representation from the environmental, social and economic sectors. Representatives include leaders of environmental, conservation, professional and academic groups, independent professional loggers, family forest owners, public officials, community and indigenous groups, and the forest products industry.

SFI's External Review Panel, an independent panel drawn from academia, state and federal agencies and conservation organizations ensures the development and revision of the SFI Standard embodies an open, fair and inclusive process that addresses all comments submitted. All comments and how they are addressed are publicly posted on the SFI website throughout the standard revision process.

The standard development process includes two 60-day public comment periods with the first beginning today and running from June 5 through August 6, 2013. During this period, respondents suggest improvements to the current 2010-2014 SFI Standard program requirements. The second public comment period begins in January 2014 to solicit comments on a working draft of proposed SFI 2015-2019 program requirements.

The process includes 10 public Standards Development workshops across the U.S. and Canada and a facilitated webinar workshop to accommodate those stakeholders that cannot make any of the regional workshops.

Every five years, SFI Inc. completes a review of its program requirements and supporting documents consistent with international protocols for forest certification. SFI requirements for forest management, fiber sourcing, chain-of-custody and certified sourcing all require independent third-party audits by accredited certification bodies. This marks the fourth public review of the SFI forest management certification standard.

Independent third-party audits are the cornerstone of certification to the SFI Standard. SFI Inc. does not certify organizations as conforming to these standards that is done by independently accredited certification bodies. All certification bodies are accredited by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and/or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

SFI Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program. Across Canada and the United States, more than 240 million acres (more than 100 million hectares) are certified to the SFI forest management standard. In addition, the SFI program's unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands.

SFI chain-of-custody (COC) certification tracks the percentage of fiber from certified forests, certified sourcing and post-consumer recycled content. SFI on-product labels identify both certified sourcing and COC claims to help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at SFI's website www.sfiprogram.org.

SOURCE: SFI