Sustainable Forestry Initiative or SFI is a program and certification standard launched by the American Forest and Paper Association in 1994. It later on became more independent and by 2007 a separate charity known as SFI Inc. Sustainable Forestry Initiative was recognized by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification or PEFC, the largest forest certifications system, as a standard in 2005.
What is Sustainable Forestry Initiative all about?
The SFI standard compromises integral values like biodiversity protection, species at risk and wildlife habitat preservation, maintenance of harvest levels, prompt regeneration and water quality conservation. On January 1, 2010, after a thorough open review process, the new SFI 2010-2014 Standard was developed. All certifications under the SFI standard require audits done by third party entities that are always from internationally accredited certification bodies. Program participants such as the United States and Canada are encouraged to avoid any controversial sources and comply with applicable laws. SFI also supports well-intended projects that seek ways to address the issue of illegal logging and other unlawful forest abuse.
Officials who oversee the SFI program has three divisions that equally recognize environmental, economic and social sectors. The Board of Directors generally include representatives from professional loggers, academic groups, environmental conservation advocates, public officials, forest owners and concerned parties from the forest industry.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization/ United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, in one of its annual reviews, several of the issues that set the previous differences between certification systems have become less distinct. Sustainable Forestry Initiative is considered to be less rigid than the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC. For instance, SFI does not demand presentation of conservation strategies or consultation with local stakeholders (with the exception of public lands), and they also allow extended tree farming.
In a National Association of State Foresters forest certification policy, a statement saying that although they have expressed it in different ways, all systems like the ATFS, FSC and SFI acknowledge the fundamental elements of credibility and they have made positive contributions to ensure forest sustainability.
Although denied to be included despite its efforts by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED, SFI is still supported by conservation groups like American Bird Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Conservation International and Conservation Fund. The said organizations believe that SFI reinforces responsible harvesting, procurement of wood and forestry. Some SFI program participants claim that by conforming to the SFI standard, they are able to reassure their customers and consumers that the paper and forest products they provide are taken from sustainable managed forests.
Getting SFI Standard Certification
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