A progress report issued today by the independent non-profit Sustainable Forestry Initiative(R) (SFI) shows tremendous growth in the forest certification program, reflecting a rapidly expanding desire by companies, markets and consumers for responsible forest management and products. The SFI program is one of the largest and most widely accepted forest certification programs in the world, and is backed by strict labeling requirements that are used to tell consumers what they are buying.
SFI Inc.: Making a Difference on the Ground (www.sfiprogram.org) explains why almost 500 organizations across the United States and Canada are directly involved with the SFI program. This is more than twice as many as at the start of 2007 when there were 21 SFI chain-of-custody certifications at 48 locations, and 212 program participants with 135 million acres (54.6 million hectares) of SFI-certified lands.
When the 2007 progress report was completed in mid-June 2008, there were 235 chain-of-custody certifications at 637 locations, and 226 program participants with 52.6 million acres (61.7 million hectares) of certified lands. On top of this, many program participants and other organizations have SFI fiber sourcing certificates or meet the program’s responsible procurement requirements.
The progress report highlights comments from the SFI External Review Panel, a group of independent experts (including academics, government officials, foresters and NGO representatives) who provide external oversight of the SFI program.
Some of the SFI program’s achievements in 2007 included:
- Training a total of 6,576 resource and logging professionals in responsible forestry, bringing the total trained through SFI Implementation Committee programs since 1995 to 110,778.
- Creating new awards, including the Leadership in Conservation Research Award, to recognize strong collaborative partnerships that improve forestry practices.
- Supporting forest research, with an investment of $100.2 million (US) by program participants. The total invested since 1995 is close to $1 billion (US).
- Agreeing to join sponsors such as the World Bank, USAID and the U.S. Forest Service to support an international Forest Trends forum in early 2008 where international experts explored ways to respond to the complex issues around illegal logging and associated trade.
- Establishing an SFI marketing strategy to promote the benefits of forest certification and the value of the SFI brand.
The Progress Report is available from the SFI website
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), a sustainable forestry certification program that is internationally recognized and among the largest in the world.
Across North America, 152.6 million acres (61.7 million hectares) are certified to the SFI 2005-2009 Standard, which is based on principles and measures that promote sustainability, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with exceptional conservation value.
The SFI Standard includes unique fiber sourcing requirements that promote responsible forest management on all suppliers’ lands. SFI Inc. also has chain-of-custody certification, which is used to tell buyers how much certified fiber is in a specific product.