The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has launched its 2015?2019 Standards and Rules in a new structure comprising three standalone standards dealing with forest management, fiber-sourcing, and chain of custody.
The group, which has more than 100 million ha (250 million acres) of forest certified to its standard, updates its requirements every five years. As part of the process, comments were received during two 60-day public comment periods, with input was gathered from 12 public workshops across the United States and Canada. Independent oversight was provided at each stage of the revision process by the SFI External Review Panel, a group of 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, panel chair and deputy director of recreation, heritage, and volunteer resources at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service.
SFI said its new Forest Management Standard promotes sustainable forestry practices based on principles, objectives, performance measures, and indicators speaking to requirements for protecting water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species-at-risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value.
SFI’s Fiber-sourcing Standard is supposed to promote responsible forestry practices for the 90 percent of the world’s forests that are not certified. These 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. Since it directs how SFI program participants procure fiber from non-certified land, the standard is designed to encourage responsible forestry practices.
Finally, the 2015?2019 Chain of Custody Standard tracks the percentage of fiber 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.
For more information, visit www.sfiprogram.org/sfi-standard-2015-2019.