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SFI releases new sustainable forestry standard

January 20, 2010 |

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative has released a new standard. SFI 2010-2014 addresses climate change and bioenergy;  strengthen unique SFI fiber sourcing requirements, which broaden the practice of sustainable forestry; complements SFI activities aimed at avoiding controversial or illegal offshore fiber sources, and embraces Lacey Act amendments to prevent illegal logging; and expands requirements for logger training and support for trained loggers and certified logger programs.

"The new standard was enriched by the views and expertise of many people, and offers a solid foundation as we build new partnerships and look for more ways to promote sustainable forest practices," Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of non-profit SFI Inc., said today.

The review process included two public comment periods and seven regional workshops, and was monitored by the External Review Panel, an independent team of external experts who offer diverse perspectives and expertise to the SFI program. "The review was truly a model of open, transparent, and responsible consideration of public input, scientific and economic factors, and conflicting demands," said panel chair Michael Goergen, executive vice-president of the Society of American Foresters. "The SFI program has grown and evolved over time, largely due to its willingness to work with individuals and groups who share its dedication to responsible forest management in North America."

The SFI 2010-2014 Standard supports a comprehensive, independent certification program that works with environmental, social and industry partners to promote responsible forest management in North America and responsible fiber sourcing worldwide. More than 180 million acres (73 million hectares) are certified to the SFI forest management standard in North America - making it the largest single standard in the world. SFI chain-of-custody certification tells buyers the percentage of certified fiber in a specific product. SFI fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands.

"SFI certification benefits our forests, our communities and our business," said Guy Gleysteen, senior vice president of production at Time Inc. "The standard was already one of the leading forest certification standards in the world, and the revisions reaffirm this leadership."

Abusow said the new standard further supports the crucial role all forest landowners play in managing North America's forests, including landowner outreach to family forest owners who supply wood fiber to SFI program participants. "The new standard's fiber sourcing requirements continue to support family forest owners in protecting threatened and endangered species, promoting reforestation and strengthening best management practices to protect water quality," she said. "In fact, it now explicitly requires this valuable assistance, along with programs to address Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value when working directly with family forest landowners." In addition, the SFI program continues to collaborate with the American Tree Farm System to increase forest certification on family forest lands.

The SFI 2010-2014 Standard is based on 14 core principles that promote sustainable forest management, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value. It has five more principles than the SFI 2005-2009 Standard, including separate principles for protection of special sites, biodiversity, aesthetics and recreation, and new principles for responsible procurement practices in North America, avoidance of controversial sources offshore, research, training and education, and public involvement.

The standard also has 20 objectives, 39 performance measures and 114 indicators - up from 13 objectives, 34 performance measures, and 102 indicators.To be certified, forest operations must be third-party audited to these requirements by independent, objective and accredited certification bodies. The SFI program is committed to continuously improving responsible forest management.

Members of the SFI Resources Committee were 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. SFI Inc. publicized the process at every step, and during both review periods, it invited about 2,000 individuals and organizations to submit comments.

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