The Sustainable Forest Initiative (FSI) is a nonprofit organisation that advances sustainability through forest-focused collaboration and manages one of the largest forest certification standards in the world. Nearly 2 300 people and organisations participated in the development of the SFI 2022 standards, and Sappi provided prominent leadership and direct engagement in the process: Rebecca Barnard, Forestry Certification Manager for Sappi North America, chaired the SFI Fibre Sourcing Standards Revision Task Group.
Continuous improvement is critical for the sustained success of forest certification. Between 2019 and 2021, SFI embarked on a transparent, inclusive, collaborative, and comprehensive effort to revise and expand SFI standards with an emphasis on improved clarity for certificate holders and the incorporation of the best-available science and emerging issues. The SFI 2022 standards now align with many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
SFI included input from the conservation community, indigenous communities, the forest products sector, brand owners, forest landowners and managers, government agencies, trade associations, landowner associations, academia and the public.
Sappi is implementing the revised standards detailed below in coordination with our suppliers.
Forests play a key role in the carbon cycle and with proper management can be one of the most effective nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. SFI-certified organisations will now be required to ensure forest management activities address climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
Enhancements in the Forest Management Standard ensure that landscape-scale analyses and research inform management decisions. By linking management decisions to analyses of landscape conditions and biodiversity conservation goals, managers will be better able to respond to the needs of wide-ranging species, the distribution of ecologically important natural communities and the role of the managed area toward attaining critical biodiversity outcomes.
Noncertified landowners represent the majority of the fibre supply in the United States. A new requirement in the Fibre Sourcing Standard requires SFI-certified organisations to conduct an assessment of imperilled species and native plant communities across their wood and fibre supply areas to better conserve biodiversity at both local and landscape levels.
Logger training has been a key component of SFI since 1995. Loggers who are aware of their responsibility as professionals are better equipped to protect the environment. SFI-certified organisations must maximise the use of and accept raw-material deliveries from qualified logging professionals.
Several requirements can be effectively addressed through cooperative efforts involving SFI Implementation Committees for improved efficiency and consistency. Examples include conservation of biological diversity, climate-smart forestry, forest research, improved logger training and outreach to landowners.
When procuring fibre, avoiding controversial sources is critical to achieving sustainability targets. Recognising this, SFI developed a comprehensive definition of controversial sources and expanded requirements for a due diligence system to assess the risk of controversial sources entering a certified organisation’s supply chain.
When leveraged with SFI’s conservation, community, and education programmes, SFI standards provide practical, scalable solutions for markets and communities. Through SFI standards, more forests are sustainably managed, thus conserving healthy wildlife, providing clean water, and making more sustainable wood, paper, and packaging products available for consumers. Sustainable forests—and products sourced from SFI-certified forests—are a great tool to move toward shared sustainability goals, such as climate action, biodiversity conservation, fire resiliency, clean water and economic development.
Furthering SFI’s global recognition, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) endorsed the revised SFI Forest Management Standard in 2021. With more than 40 endorsed national certification systems and over 790 million acres of certified forests, PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system.
"SFI has the scale to make a difference with more than 375 million acres certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard, and tens of millions more certified to the SFI Fibre Sourcing Standard", says Kathy Abusow, SFI President and CEO. "Because the standards require independent, third-party audits, organisations that use them are responding to the ESG expectations of investors, customers and communities."