ARLINGTON, Va. - Jan. 30, 2009 – The independent Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Inc. is inviting comments until March 2 on the draft SFI 2010-2014 Standard, which is posted at www.sfiprogram.org .
As part of its public review, the non-profit forest certification program will host seven workshops across North America:
o February 18 in Sacramento, California
o February 19 in Vancouver, British Columbia
o March 3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
o March 26 in Charleston, South Carolina
o April 2 in Little Rock, Arkansas
o April 7 in Portland, Maine
o April 16 in Montreal, Quebec
SFI third-party certification supports responsible forestry practices across North America through a standard based on principles that promote sustainable forest management, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value. To be certified, forest operations must be audited against the current SFI Standard, which is enhanced through an open public process every five years. This is the third full review – it began in June 2008 and will lead to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2010.
“The changes proposed in the draft SFI 2010-2014 Standard reflect views we received during an initial 60-day public review process last summer – we invited 2,000 individuals and organizations to comment on the SFI 2005-2009 Standard and publicized the process to reach even more people,” said SFI Inc. President and CEO Kathy Abusow. “This helps to ensure the standard addresses the latest science, changing values and new issues. For example, proposed changes refer to the role forests play in mitigating climate change and bioenergy production.”
The draft standard is posted on the SFI website (http://www.sfiprogram.org/standard-dev-2ndcomment-period.php ), and written comments will be accepted through an on-line survey for 30 days.
Those who were invited to comment or submitted comments last summer will receive an email with
their existing username and password. New reviewers can visit the SFI website to request a username and password. Individuals who want to register to attend a workshop can also find more information or register on-line at this site.
The revised draft standard also aims to strengthen the unique SFI fiber sourcing requirements, which address the fact that only 10 per cent of the world’s forests are certified. Currently, program participants who buy fiber from lands that are not certified in North America must promote responsible forestry on these lands. If they source fiber offshore, additional requirements apply, including measures to avoid controversial sources of supply including illegally logged forest products.
“In 2007, 95 percent of raw material used by those involved in our fiber sourcing program was
provided by trained loggers and resource professionals,” Abusow said. “The proposed changes should enhance this positive work by requiring, rather than encouraging, the use of trained loggers and resource professionals.”
Members of the SFI Resources Committee are responsible for developing the SFI 2010-2014 Standard.
Like the three-chamber SFI Board of Directors, which is solely responsible for the SFI program and the standard development process, the Resources Committee has balanced representation from
environmental, social and economic sectors. The SFI External Review Panel, an independent group of volunteer experts who advise the SFI Inc. Board on ways to improve the SFI program, is also
monitoring the review process to ensure comments are adequately reflected in the revised standard.
Over time, standard development processes and related public input have led to significant changes in the SFI program. For example, the SFI 2005-2009 Standard included new provisions to conserve old-growth forests; to strengthen procurement from jurisdictions outside of North America and supply chain monitoring; and to address invasive exotic species. It also introduced new performance measures and indicators related to the certification of public forestlands, including requirements to confer with affected indigenous peoples. The SFI 2002-2004 Standard introduced, among other things, measures to protect Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value, and provisions to help prevent illegal logging and to promote the conservation of biodiversity hotspots and major tropical wilderness areas.
For further information about the standard development process, contact Allison Welde at
Allison.Welde@sfiprogram.org  or call 703 875-9500, ext. 24.
About SFI Inc.
SFI Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization, and is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program (www.sfiprogram.org ), that is internationally recognized and among the largest in the world. It is one of the fastest-growing forest certification programs with 154 million acres (62 million hectares) of SFI-certified forests across North America.
The SFI Standard also includes unique fiber sourcing requirements that promote responsible
forest management on all suppliers’ lands and a chain-of-custody certification, which can communicate to buyers how much certified fiber is in a specific product. The SFI forest standard is endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, a global umbrella organization that has strict requirements for endorsement. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally.