The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program was adopted by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF & PA) and its members to promote sustainable forestry on all forest lands. The program was initiated in 1994 and since the program’s inception, seventeen companies have been expelled from AF & PA for failure to comply.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program is a comprehensive system of principles, objectives, and performance measures that integrate the perpetually growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil, and water quality. Simply stated, the program participants of the SFI standards are basing their forest management on responsible environmental practices. These practices, blended together with sound business practices, can be integrated to benefit landowners, shareholders, customers, and the needs of the biological communities.
The SFI standard was first developed by professional foresters, conservationists, scientists, landowners, and other stakeholders. These men and women were inspired by the concept of sustainability that evolved from the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, and was adopted by the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
The SFI Standard has a set of objectives, performance measures, and core indicators that guide the management on program participant’s lands. The SFI Standard Objectives take the SFI Principles into action and promote the practice of sustainable forestry, protection of water quality, enhancement of wildlife habitat, minimization of visual impacts, protection of special sites, and commitment to continual improvement in sustainable forestry practices.
The SFI Program is monitored and managed by the Sustainable Forestry Board (SFB), which reviews and makes changes to the SFI verification procedures and the SFI Program compliance. The SFB is made up of outside stakeholders and represents a diverse interest group, including environmental conservation groups, public officials (state and federal), professional/academic groups, logging professionals, and industry and non-industry landowners.
Participating members that choose to be Third Party Certified have an external audit of their operations and are required to meet its performance measures and 119 core indicators that must be met to be certified. The auditors evaluate the company’s compliance with the SFI standard. Companies successfully completing a Third Party Audit have made a clear commitment to sustainable practices that promote and protect the environment. SFI auditors must be trained and accredited through American National Standards Institute/Registrars Accreditation Board (ANSI/RAB) or comparable national or international accreditation.
SFI is a forest certification that requires quantitative and qualitative analysis to meet the objectives of the standard. When a Company commits to the SFI Standard, it is making a commitment to a higher level of management that protects the resources. To learn more about SFI, check their webpage at www.aboutSFI.org or contact Northwest Management, Inc.